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April 1, 2016

Beechgrove Garden s09.

Beechgrove is back despite winter storms, Jim McColl, Carole Baxter, George Anderson and Chris Beardshaw and the Beechgrove garden are all in one piece, looking radishing and ready to grow. Scotland has suffered the wettest winter on record so Jim and the team wade in to find out how that affects growing conditions. When Maggie Patience came to live near Aboyne she found winter days short on light and colour. Carole visited Maggie's garden in early winter to experience the unique way she has added year round colour. Plus Chris literally wades in to Beechgrove's newly re-vamped pond.


In the Beechgrove Garden, Jim admires the colourful camellias which are conservatory confined to prolong flowering and fragrance. Meanwhile, looking at colour in stems rather than blooms, George creates an inspirational winter-interest border on a slope in Beechgrove. Carole begins a new mini-strand - Garden on a Budget. Meike and Jan Guijt and their young family moved into their new home in Kennethmont in 2015. Throughout the series, Carole will help new gardener Meike mould a garden out of almost nothing.

In this edition of the gardening magazine, Jim investigates digging. He grows two sets of vegetables side by side to compare how digging affects them. Brian Cunningham, head gardener of Scone Palace, is redesigning the alpine garden at Beechgrove, while George takes a tour of 19th-century Braco Castle garden with head gardener Jodie Simpson.

In this edition of the gardening magazine, Jim attempts to rejuvenate the Beechgrove lawn, which has turned a washed-out yellow after a winter of rain.

In the Beechgrove garden, Jim is hoping that the soil is now warm enough to plant tatties in the main veggie plot, while on the decking garden Carole is also planting tatties on a tiny scale. Chris and Carole are going on very different fungal forays in Beechgrove this year. Chris is creating a whole Jurassic Park fungal valley with ancient timbers and all manner of edible mushrooms. Again on the other end of the scale, Carole tries out some windowsill mushroom-growing kits, and George visits Alan Shamash's impressive hillside garden full of an extensive collection of rhododendrons in Kirkudbright.

Carole continues with her windowsill gardening and sows herbs and salad leaves, which can be used to produce tasty, foodie salads for weeks, Carole is with Mieke Guijt in rural Kennethmont, helping to mould a garden out of almost nothing. Carole takes Mieke on a budget shopping trip to buy materials for easy-to-make compost bays and shows her how to have plants for 'free', and George visits the painterly garden of Broughton House in Kirkcudbright. The house and garden belonged to EA Hornel, artist, collector and 'Glasgow boy'. George discovers how much the garden influenced Hornel's paintings.

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Carole creates a chef's windowsill as she grows a range of micro salads, while Chris takes on the job of revamping the old heather garden and turns it into our own piece of an ancient Scottish hill top in miniature. George and Jim are off on a bulb-lover's busman's holiday and indulging in more than a little 'tulip fever' as they visit world-famous Keukenhof Botanic Park near Amsterdam to see the mind-blowing bulb displays.

In the Beechgrove Garden, Jim is starting off new varieties of tomatoes and he's going to try them in a range of new tomato growing gadgets. Brian Cunningham, head gardener of Scone Palace, is back continuing his revamping of the Beechgrove alpine garden. This week, Brian finishes off the hard landscaping and starts the planting. Jim and George's busman's holiday continues in the Netherlands and this time they visit the world's largest cut flower auction at Aalsmeer, near Amsterdam.

In the Beechgrove Garden, Jim is dealing with hardy veg in the veg plot, while Carole is starting off some tender veg in the polytunnel. Brian Cunningham, head gardener of Scone Palace, is back at Beechgrove to finish the new alpine garden planting. Carole also visits Mike and Sue Thornley at Glenarn Gardens in Rhu, near Helensburgh. This garden dates back to the 1920s and 30s and is best known for its stunning collection of tender rhododendrons that are planted in a sheltered Himalayan glen.

The Beechgrove team take a break from the garden to be at Gardening Scotland, the biggest gardening show north of the border. The cream of British growers will be there, with everything from pansies to pelargoniums and cacti to clematis in a stunning floral frenzy. We see those who are growing for gold including those exhibits showing off their medals from the previous week's Chelsea Flower Show. Show gardens are a buzzing, eclectic mix from Hive Jive, a garden inspired by the 'waggle dance' of bees, to the secret herb garden made with invasive weeds that are turned into beer. Beechgrove will be concentrating on the Scottish talent and Scottish plants but we'll join them all for a sneak preview as well as sampling the unique atmosphere of Gardening Scotland.

Carole is in the Keder, starting the year's collection of tender vegetables, and Jim is with the allotmenteers of Tillicoultry to discover how the community runs this immaculately presented and organised allotment. The gardening charity Scotland's Gardens celebrates its 85th year. To mark the occasion, Carole visits one of their new recruits and newest garden on the list, at Barbara Pickard's no-nonsense but beautiful cottage garden at Balmullo in Fife.

In this edition of the gardening magazine, Jim and George are planning for jam tomorrow as Jim sorts out the raspberries, while George is a wee bit more exotic and tends to the fig and the vine. In Garden on a Budget, Carole is with Meike Guijt and family in rural Kennethmont helping mould a garden out of almost nothing. This week they create a garden table from an old tree stump and plant some edible flowers. Jim is concerned that gardening is not offered as a career choice for young people. In a mission to find How to Grow a Gardener, Jim visits the enlightened Breadalbane Academy in Aberfeldy, which has practical gardening on the curriculum as well as a beautiful community garden to show for it.

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This edition of the gardening magazine features some neglected mature shrubs. Jim looks at the flowering quince, while Carole and George tackle the berberis and the pyracantha.

The whole Beechgrove team are taking the road to the ancient Highland fishing port and market town of Nairn. Taking advantage of the particular microclimate of the Moray Coast, the gardeners of Nairn have much to show to the Beechgrove team. To set the scene for this special programme the team will be visiting some glorious gardens and finding out what conditions are like horticulturally in Nairn. Jim, Carole, Chris and Brian will also be hosting a Beechgrove Gardeners' Question time and attempting to answer as many Nairn gardening queries as possible.

Chris has been left to his own devices in the Beechgrove garden and he is planting up an exotic border with plants that are surprisingly hardy and yet look like they have just arrived from the jungle. Jim and Carole aren't far away and yet could also be on safari as they are involved with a big game garden at the Royal Aberdeen Children's Hospital. Jim and Carole track the progress and ultimately the finish of this therapeutic garden designed especially for children. A no-water water feature surrounded with large architectural and exotic planting and making their way to the dry river bed are some life-size giraffes and a family of elephants that are rooted to the spot and available to touch as they are made in box hedging.

Jim brings us up to date on how the crops in the veg plot are doing, whilst Carole checks up on the progress of more tender veg inside, Chris battles with the bog garden at Beechgrove, replanting this previously overgrown area with wet soil loving plants. At North Kessock, just north of Inverness overlooking the Moray Firth, Carole marvels at a virtually vertical rock face lying on bedrock, which David and Penny Veitch have transformed over almost 30 years into a haven for alpines and scree plants.

In the Beechgrove garden, Carole takes a look at and tastes both peas that are sweet and sweet peas. Carole has been running an observation on varieties of peas and their support systems, and it's time for harvest and analysis. George returns to his roots as he visits Athelstaneford village near North Berwick. Twelve village gardens are gearing up for an open day, and George takes a tour around as many gardens as he can. Jim visits Douneside House in Tarland to meet head gardener Stephen McCallum, who leads a progressive horticulture apprenticeship scheme in the stunning surroundings of Douneside House gardens.

Challenged to come to Gairloch by local resident, Helena Bowie, the Beechgrove team are ready to answer Helena's and the Gairloch community's gardening problems in a Beechgrove Gardener's question time event. To set the scene for gardening conditions in the area Jim also visits the world renowned Inverewe gardens where the Gulf Stream is used to such advantage. Despite its northerly location it boasts a range of exotic plants from around the world right there in wild Wester Ross and is the epitome of gardening on the edge.

A sparkling summer bedding display dazzles the eye this week in the Beechgrove Garden. More colour comes from Calla lilies and Black Eyed Susans in Carole's 6 x 8ft greenhouse, and it is tasting and testing time for Jim's tomatoes. Chris dons his waders and is planting in the pond. On his second visit to Tillycoultry allotments Jim looks at the communal greenhouses on the site, and finds out about the tuition sessions which help the 'plotters' use a range of garden machinery.

Jim, Carole and George begin a series of bulb plantings by naturalising some unusual bulbs in the new lawn. Chris, with advice from Jim and Carole, takes on an emotional job as the decision is made to cut down and replace the 15-year-old cryptomeria tree in Beechgrove, and Jim visits a special garden that he has been hoping to see for years, Portmore near Eddleston.

Jim is thinking ahead and planting overwintering veg that will be ready to crop in the spring. 2016 is the 50th anniversary of Keep Scotland Beautiful. To mark that, Carole takes a look around Colourful Carnoustie, a relative newcomer to the Keep Scotland Beautiful campaign, and George visits social enterprise group Seedbox in Ballogie near Aboyne. The group have asked Beechgrove to help them tame two huge and very old Yew trees.

In the Beechgrove Garden Jim is in the veggie plot still managing to crop late veg and it's also hedge cutting time of year and Jim sets about the conifer hedge and the pleached lime. Carole is with Mieke Guijt and family in rural Aberdeenshire helping her once again to garden on a budget. This week Carole encourages Mieke to lift and divide plants from friend's gardens and in this case, the friends are Beechgrove. Continuing the budget theme, Carole then visits Mari Reid in Ardersier, whose whole garden is full of money-saving ideas while still managing to be penny-pinching pretty.

There's a wee chill in the air in the Beechgrove Garden and Jim decides to take the Camellias inside after their summer holidays outdoors. Carole and George are thinking ahead to spring, taking half-hardy perennial cuttings and planning a spring bedding display. Jim takes a final trip to Tillicoultry Allotments and this time it's harvest thanksgiving. Jim also visits Gordon Castle garden near Elgin, where the team are restoring one of the oldest walled-kitchen gardens in Scotland.

Jim, Carole and George are on the road again as they visit Strathkinness, the Best Kept Small Village in Fife, for the final Beechgrove Roadshow of the series. The villagers invited Beechgrove to enjoy the horticultural highlights of one of the sunniest places in Scotland. In the village hall the community gathers to try and test the gardening know-how of Jim, Carole, George and Brian Cunningham (head gardener at Scone Palace), as they find out what grows and possibly what doesn't in the area and answer as many questions as possible in a Beechgrove Gardener's question time.

Leaves are falling in the Beechgrove Garden but that's not necessarily a bad thing as Jim uses them to make lovely leaf mould. He also shows the steamy secrets of his new hot box composter. Carole makes her last visit to Mieke and family in rural Aberdeenshire where they are gardening on a budget and this week they learn how to shred material to make economical but pretty paths, and Jim knows very well that gardening is good for you but this week it's especially so as he marks the 10th anniversary of Trellis, which is designed to support therapeutic gardening as he visits a really restorative nursery and garden, Solstice, in Banchory-Devenick.

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It's the final programme of the series and Jim, Carole, George and Chris are battening down the hatches, preparing the garden for the winter but also making plans for spring. Carole is starting her Christmas wrapping early as she shows how to wrap up tender plants around the garden that need extra protection. George and Jim are in the fruit cage, where it's a good time to take stock and do some remedial fruit work, Carole also visits Huntly Cot, a unique garden near Temple in Midlothian. At its centre is a heart-shaped heather garden, with a natural spring burn, perfectly in tune with the garden's moorland setting.

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