Two Good Gardeners
Late Summer Colour with Fergus Garrett
The gardens at Great Dixter are famed across the globe for their exuberance, colour and intimacy. Driven by a sense of adventure and a mission to help others get involved in horticulture, Fergus Garrett has built on the legacy of his friend and mentor, Christopher Lloyd, never allowing Dixter to stand still and delighting thousands of visitors every season.
In mid-August 2023, Julia and I were lucky enough to grab half an hour with Fergus to get his tips on late summer colour, discover his desert island plants and understand what he looks for in a plant when choosing what to grow. We cover a lot of ground, and Fergus is as generous with his knowledge as his time. Make sure you listen right to the very end, as there are gems throughout!
If you enjoy this episode, be sure to follow us on your favourite podcast platform and leave us a rating and review. We'll be back in September with a brand-new series!
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1. Early Autumn Colour In Your Garden57:22As summer eases into autumn, our gardens reach a colourful crescendo. In this episode, Dan & Julia share their favourite flowers and crops for extending the season, taking inspiration from their gardens and visits to Great Dixter, Sussex Prairies, East Ruston Old Vicarage and Doddington Place.Julia offers advice on autumn sowing and shares her top of the crops - delicious, juicy figs. Dan describes his new range of flower bowls and explains how to keep dahlias healthy and blooming for as long as possible.Find Julia's favourite fig recipe here.Explore Dan's collection of flower bowls here.This fortnight's jobs to do in the garden:Order onion sets.Order tulip bulbs.Keep watering and feeding pots and containers.Harvest courgettes regularly.Remove leaves on grape vines and figs, allowing more sunlight to ripen the fruits.Sow salads, fennel and beetroot for late crops in a greenhouse or under cover.Take cuttings - it's an ideal time for figs, hydrangeas, lavender, rosemary, salvias and coleus.Order indoor bulbs for Christmas forcing.Remove shading or netting in greenhouses as the light starts to diminish.Keep looking for box moth caterpillars and spray or pick them off.Dan & Julia's top plants for early autumn colour:Rudbeckia fulgida ‘Goldsturm’ Rudbeckia triloba' Prairie Glow'Rudbeckia laciniata 'Herbstsonne' Helianthus' Monarch' Helianthus 'Velvet Queen' Heliopsis helianthoides ‘Bleeding Hearts’ Cosmos bipinnatus 'Double Click Cranberry' Ratibida columnifera ‘Red Midget’Eutrochium maculatum (Atropurpureum Group) 'Riesenschirm'Althaea cannabina Aster x frikartii 'Mönch' Eurybia divaricataVernonia arkansana 'Mammuth' Anemone japonicaHydrangea "Annabelle"Website links:Dan Cooper GardenParker's PatchAlitex Modern Victorian GreenhousesAlitex Adventures In Flowers Workshop
8. All Set for Summer59:04In the final episode of this series, Dan and Julia share tips for adapting your garden to cope with hotter, drier summers. Julia offers advice on getting your plot holiday-ready, and Dan showcases a product that can act as a mulch, fertiliser and slug deterrent. This episode's drought-proof 'top of the crops' is the stately artichoke, and Dan chooses salvias as his sun-loving 'pick of the bunch'.Your hosts return in late summer / early autumn for Series 2 and would love to hear about any topics you'd like to be featured.Want to know more? Here are this episode's show notes:Dan's guide to creating a drought-tolerant gardenDan's guide to preparing your garden for the summer holidaysDan's guide to watering wiselyJulia's recommended artichoke varieties: 'Green Globe', 'Purple Globe', 'Romanesco'.Note that cardoons (Cynara cardunculus) are a close relative of the artichoke (Cynara scolymus). Cardoons are grown for their edible stalks rather than their flowers. The cardoon is much more cold-tolerant as well.Dan's recommended salvia varieties: 'Hot Lips' - red and white; 'Nachtvlinder' - inky purple; 'Royal Bumble - bright red; 'Trellisick Creamy Yellow'; 'Jemima's Gem' - cerise; 'Amistad' - purple; 'Blue Suede Shoes' - dusky pale blue; 'Amante' - pink.Jobs to do in your garden this fortnight:Find someone to water your garden if you plan a holiday this month or next.Sow salad leaves, turnips, French beans, spring cabbages, chicory, kohlrabi, dill, coriander and parsley.Take Cuttings of hydrangeas, lavender, rosemary, salvias, penstemon, mint, thyme and sage.Plant autumn-flowering bulbs such as colchicums, autumn crocuses, cyclamen and nerines.Prune early spring flowering shrubs, rhododendrons, camellias and magnolias, conifers, plums, cherries, damsons and wisteria.Harvest courgettes, calabrese, French beans, Swiss chard, lettuce, mint, parsley, radish, beetroot, carrots, spinach, spring cabbage, spring onion, garlic, onions, globe artichokes, strawberries, raspberries and loganberries.Pick sweet peas, roses, zinnias, cosmos, gladioli, dahlias, lilies, carnations and pinks.Buy reduced perennials in your local garden centre - trim back, plant out and water thoroughly to encourage lush new growth. Stock up on plant food. Enjoy a stroll around the garden or a moment on your balcony after sundown.Visit open gardens across the country, especially those with herbaceous borders. The RHS holds shows at Hampton Court and Tatton Park in Cheshire this month.Website links:Dan Cooper GardenParker's PatchAlitex Modern Victorian GreenhousesMiddleton Nurseries - salvia specialistsDyson's Nurseries - salvia specialists
7. Friends & Foes01:04:10Dan and Julia discuss how to spot and deal with common summertime pests, including cabbage white butterflies, red spider mites and asparagus beetles. Julia gets stuck into salads, explaining how to grow a succession of lush leaves throughout the year. Dan recalls happy memories of Dame Edna Everage and her wonderful gladies, sharing tips on how to grow these fabulous flowers without all the stiffness and formality they've become known for.Julia's Favourite Salad Leaves:Lettuce 'Black Seeded Simpson'.Lettuce (Little Gem) ‘Delight’.Lettuce 'Cocarde' - very attractive arrowhead leaf green-tinged red. Good for spring, summer and autumn growing.Lettuce 'Salad Bowl' - both green and red, RHS recommended.Lettuce 'Lollo Rosso'.Lettuce 'Butterhead'.Lettuce 'Winter Density' - good for cooler months.Wild rocket - hardy and the best flavour.Dan's Favourite Gladioli:G. papilio ‘Ruby’ - just delicious - the colour of crushed blackberries.G. communis subsp. byzantinus - Mediterranean but naturalised in the UK.G. murielae - the Abyssinian gladiolus - very late flowering and needs baking in a sunny spot, but the flowers are deliciously fragrant.G. ‘Sancerre’ - pure white.G. ‘Shaka Zulu' - deep, deep purple.The ‘Flevo’ varieties, such as G. 'Flevo Cool' and G. 'Flevo Laguna' are perfect for small gardens and growing in pots.Where you'll find us:Dan will be at Gilbert White’s House in Selborne near Petersfield for their 30th Annual Unusual Plants Fair on June 17th and 18th , ready to supply visitors with any last-minute Father’s Day Gifts. Alitex is hosting an open morning on 16th June 9 am - 4 pm, at Torberry Farm, near Petersfield. To book a visit, use this link.
6. Chelsea Flower Show Special22:52Join us for our first-ever outside broadcast from the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2023. We celebrate Alitex's Best Trade Stand award and discover how Julia was involved in making it happen. We share our show highlights and reveal some of the work that goes on behind the scenes to deliver the world's most prestigious flower show.Please note that batteries for charging your phone can be hired for £3 for every 30 minutes, not every hour, as Dan states.Should we do more outside broadcasts? Would you like us to report from other RHS shows and garden events? We'd love to receive your feedback.Finally, leaving us a rating and a review will help us to reach other gardening enthusiasts like you. Happy gardening!
5. Chelsea Calling!57:59Episode 5 has a Chelsea Flower Show flavour. Dan & Julia debate the value of a ticket to the world's most prestigious horticultural event and explain how to administer the Chelsea chop to flowering perennials and herbs. Crisp, crunchy radishes are Julia's pick of the crop, and Dan breaks a self-imposed rule by celebrating deciduous azaleas, a plant that doesn't thrive in his chalky soil.For Dan & Julia's complete guide to surviving Chelsea, click here.For more advice on administering the Chelsea chop, click here, and you'll find the perfect pair of shears to do it with here.Plants that respond well to the Chelsea ChopYarrow - Achillea Dyer's chamomile - Anthemis tinctoria AsterBell flower - CampanulaConeflower - Echinacea Joe Pye weed - EupatoriumBlanket flower - GaillardiaSneezeweed - Helenium Perennial sunflowers - HelianthusCandytuft - IberisShasta daisy - Leucanthemum × superbumPurple loosestrife - Lythrum salicariaBergamot - Monarda didymaCatmint - NepetaPenstemonGarden phlox - Phlox paniculataBlack-eyed Susan - RudbeckiaStonecrop - Sedum telephium (now Hylotelephium telephium)Golden rod - SolidagoCulver's root - VeronicastrumChives - Allium schoenoprasumDan's favourite deciduous azaleas:FIREBALLGIBRALTARGOLD TOPAZIRENE KOSTERKLONDYKESTRAWBERRY ICEWhere you'll find us over the next fortnight:Julia will be at Nomad Books in Fulham on Saturday, 13th May, running a workshop and signing copies of her book. You'll also find her on the Alitex stand (MA 336) on the Chelsea Flower Show's Main Avenue on and off between the 23rd and 28th of May.Dan will be at Salthrop House, Wroughton, near Swindon, this Sunday, 14th May, 11 am - 4 pm and at the American Museum & Gardens in Bath on Sunday, 21st May, with Rare Plant Fairs. He takes his tea strong with milk, and no sugar, if you want to treat him to a cuppa!Alitex will be at the RHS Malvern Spring Festival from 11th -14th May, showcasing the Mottisfont greenhouse from the National Trust range. Then, they will be at RHS Chelsea Flower Show with their 'Good Life' inspired exhibit, styled by our very own Julia!
4. That's the way the compost crumbles!54:52In this fortnight's episode, Dan & Julia talk tomatoes, chat about compost and wax lyrical about wallflowers. Dan introduces his new Dutch planting trowel, similar to the traditional tool cherished by Monty Don, and Julia explains how to grow ginger from supermarket-bought roots. Your hosts look forward to an action-packed coronation weekend and the crowning of King Charles III, one of the nation's most celebrated garden makers.Julia's jobs to do in the next two weeks:Earth up potatoes as shoots emerge to protect them from frost and boost the crop.Harden off and plant out sweet peas and other hardy annuals.Sow pumpkins, sweet corn, courgettes, French beans and runner beans indoors.Sow sunflowers inside or out.Prune Forsythia and Ribes after flowering.Remember not to clear away daffodil foliage. Let it die down naturally to boost the bulbs.Repot houseplants now they're starting to grow again.Feed lawns with a nitrogen-rich feed to replace nutrients that have leached away over winter.Continue sowing tender herbs such as basil, coriander and dill. Sow salads and radishes at regular intervals.Check lilies and fritillaries for lily beetles - clumps of black gunge where leaves should be are a telltale sign they've been at work.Start using slug and snail protection as soon as vulnerable plants emerge from the ground.Protect fruit blossoms from late frosts using specially designed fruit sleeves.Plant ListJulia's tomatoes:San Marzano PlumBlack CherryGreen Zebra Yellow SubmarineBarry's Crazy CherryBlack RussianFeo De Riogordo Gardeners' DelightDan's wallflowers:Fire KingVulcanCloth of GoldCottage Fragrance' (mixture)'Persian Carpet' (mixture)Useful LinksDan's Signature Dutch trowelSaltwood Castle open garden and plant fair on April 29thHatfield House plant fair on April 30thOne Garden Brighton - Julia's book signing on May 1stBorde Hill plant fair on May 7thWebsiteshttps://www.dancoopergarden.com/https://www.parkers-patch.com/
3. All things bright and edible59:56In episode 3, Dan and Julia discuss how to grow awesome asparagus, go crazy for Japanese kenzan, celebrate a much-overlooked foliage plant and bemoan the fate of the suburban front garden. Julia explains how to get more bang for your buck when buying pot-grown herbs from the supermarket, and Dan reveals the top jobs to do in your garden over the next fortnight. You'll find these listed below, along with details of the plants, products and events mentioned in the podcast.Dan and Julia's jobs for the next fortnight:Plant potatoes - dig a trench or use a bulb planter to get them in, and remember to earth them up when the shoots emerge to protect them from frost.Sow sweetcorn, courgettes and pumpkins, butternut squash, basil, coriander, and other tender herbs and sunflowers under cover. Beetroot, carrot, chard kale, lettuces, radishes, pak choi, leeks, spinach and broccoli can now be sown directly outdoors.Sow annual flower meadow mixes into prepared soil, which should be weed-free and raked to a fine tilth, like a crumble mixture.Deadhead daffodils, unless you want them to seed.Water pots and containers, even when it's been raining.Cleaning patio furniture and terraces on a dry, sunny day.Tie in clematis, which will be growing vigorously now.Stake perennials, including peonies, lupins, phlox and delphiniums.Check for bugs and encourage predators such as ladybirds by leaving material in your garden that they can find shelter in.Remove rhubarb forcers, and don't put any further strain on forced crowns by continuing to pick the leaves.Start hardening off plants if you live in milder areas.Remember to wear sunscreen! The April sun is fiercer than you think.Plant ListDichroa' Long March' (Chinese quinine)Delphinium' Blue Tit'Lathyrus vernus' Rainbow' (spring pea)Erigeron karvinskianus (Mexican flea bane)Baptista australis (false blue indigo)Ocimum basilicum 'Sweet Genovese' (sweet basil - as you will find in supermarkets and atop pizzas)Ocimum basilicum 'Crispum' (lettuce-leaf basil)Ocimum basilicum var. minimum (Greek basil)Ocimum basilicum var. thyrsiflora (Thai basil)Ocimum basilicum var. purpurascens x kilimandscharicum (African blue basil)Asparagus officinalis 'Gijnlim''Pacific 2000'Solenostemon's Burgundy Wedding Train', 'Lord Falmouth', 'Pink Chaos', 'Wisley Tapestry', Henna', 'Campfire'Useful LinksSongbird Survival charityArtisan nestersGreat Comp Spring Fling Plant FairGreen Rooms MarketArundel Castle Plant FairAlitex open morninghttps://www.dancoopergarden.com/https://www.parkers-patch.com/
2. Spring has sprung in Kent & East Sussex42:58Will it? Won't it? As March draws to a close, spring is teasing us, but Dan and Julia see signs of spring everywhere they look. In episode 2, the Two Good Gardeners get animated about April, celebrating foraged food in the form of wild garlic, sharing the joy of daffodils and warning against planting delicate plants outside too soon. Dan offers advice on growing dahlias from seed, cuttings and tubers, and Julia shares a thrifty Easter project involving egg boxes.Additional resources:Dan's guide to growing dahliasDan's advice on hardening off seedlings and plantsDan's April garden guideMore about wild garlicMore about daffodilsDan & Julia's jobs for the next fortnight:Start to feed citrus with summer feedMow lawns. (start with the blades set high).Sow hardy annuals outside...Plant out potatoes: earlies in the first half and main crop at the end of April.Sow squashes, courgettes, and pumpkins under cover this month and protect them from mice.Stay on top of weeds.Sow parsnips direct into the ground.Hand-pollinate peach and apricot blossoms using a paintbrush.Plant out leeks.Pot up dahlia tubers and take cuttings when shoots reach 5-7cm long.https://www.dancoopergarden.com/https://www.parkers-patch.com/