13 July 2012

How To Be A Gardener (BBC)

Season 1 - Website: How to be a gardener

Episode 1: Know Your Plot

You wouldn’t dream of moving into a house without taking a look at the area. It’s the same in a garden. Before you can grow anything, you need to know what sort of conditions you have. Then you can choose plants that are suited to them. There really is no need to waste money on plants that will hate your environment. You’ll need to know what sort of soil you have, how much light there is and the prevailing weather conditions. Is it a windy site, a particularly cold one, or is it sunny and sheltered?



Episode 2: Understand Plants

Think of your garden as a theatrical production. It's all right - you don't need any artistic training. You are aiming for a variety show that lasts a long time, offers year-round interest and alleviates boredom. The way to achieve this is to use a wide range of plants: from trees and shrubs to climbers, perennials, annuals and bulbs. What's the difference between them, and what can each of them bring to your garden?



Episode 3: Planting Schemes And Themes

Once you’ve understood the different types of plant and what they can do, you can tackle the job of putting them all together in a garden - working out which ones will look best where, and how they will complement each other. There are lots of different planting styles, from cottage gardens to prairie gardens, tropical borders to bog gardens. And there are ways to use shapes, textures and colours to create different effects. Soft pastels or vibrant shades?



Episode 4: Practical Planting

When you know what plants you want, and which of them will be happy growing together, it’s tempting to rush off to the garden centre, go mad with the plastic, then come back and chuck them all in. Not a good idea, is it? You’ve done it before and half of them have died. So before you take the plunge, make sure that your soil is well cultivated and enriched. This module will tell you how to get your garden ready for plants, and it will also explain what sort of plants you should look for in the nursery or garden centre; what makes a good one, and which ones you should avoid. 



Episode 5: Caring For Your Garden

Once your plants are growing you will need to keep them happy. How do you do this, and what sort of tools will you need? Plants need water and food, but when and in what sort of quantities? This module explains the cultivation techniques necessary to keep your plants in fine fettle. Don’t worry; you won’t have to be a slave to them, just a good mother. And when it comes to pruning don’t shake in your shoes. There are simple basic steps you can take to ensure you cut the right stem, at the right time, in the right place.



Episode 6: Problem Solving

However good a gardener you are, there are always outside agencies that do their best to prevent you succeeding. That’s life. Weeds will invade your beds and borders, pests will fly in to nibble leaves and suck sap, and diseases will spread death and destruction in their wake. But grow your plants well, and know what steps to take when you spot a weed, a pest or disease, and you can stay one step ahead. Whether you are an organic gardener like me, or use chemicals wisely, making sure that the right product is used in the right place, the important thing is that you achieve a working relationship with nature and still enjoy your garden.



Episode 7: The Productive Garden

Growing flowers is wonderfully fulfilling. Growing fruit and vegetables is wonderfully filling. To pick and eat your own crops is a great thrill. You know they have been well grown; you know they are fresh and you know that, just like your own baby, they are the best in the world! Here you can discover just how to cultivate your own fruit and vegetables – and you don’t need a big garden to do so. Edible crops can be squeezed into the tiniest of plots.You’ll be surprised at how good some of them look – it’s a shame to pick them really!



Episode 8: The Gardening Year

The garden never stops moving, and no garden is ever finished. It follows, then, that the gardener is always gardening – even though to some the winter seems to be the closed season. But year-round gardening has its rewards. You can ensure that there is always something to cheer you up in the way of flowers, and always more things to plant and existing features to keep up to scratch. Not all these tasks are chores. Many of them will keep you in touch with the earth and things that grow, which is what 'how to be a gardener' is all about.

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