Container Gardening with Kathy Brown

For the past 33 years Kathy and her husband Simon have created a simply amazing Manor House Garden in Stevington, just north of Bedford. It’s a garden full of inspiration, buoyed by Kathy’s keen use of colour and structure as well as plenty of great plants. In this episode of Dig it, Peter Brown and Chris Day discover more about how the garden evolved, advice on growing plants in containers using recipe-style plantings, the crocking debate, tales of a donkey, opening a garden to the public and using edible flowers in baking.

Plants mentioned: Beech hedging, Eucalyptus, Pine trees, avenues of Betula jacquemontii, Metasequoia glyptostroboides and Ginkgo biloba. Wisteria, Weeping Cedrus, xeriscape plants such as succulents. Perennials Agapanthus, Alliums, Japanese anemones, Gladiolus callianthus 'Murielae' (Abyssinian gladiolus, RHS AGM), Sedum, Hellebore Gold Collection (outward facing blooms perfect in pots) Helleborus ‘Frosty’ is a good one, Verbena bonariensis, ornamental grasses including Calamagrostis ‘Overdam’, Echinaceas. Hyacinths, Dwarf and species Tulips, Tulip clusiana 'Lady Jane' and Dwarf Narcissi like ‘January Gold’ (early) and ‘Pipit’ (later flowering). Good flavours to use with cake bakes include scented rose petals as these provide the most flavour as well as lavender.

Kathy’s desert island plant: English lavender – wonderfully versatile, you can cook with it and use it in a wide variety of ways as well as producing a wonderful tea to enjoy.

Products mentioned: White Himalayan birch plantings at Anglesey Abbey. National Garden Scheme (NGS). Solardome ® greenhouse. Beth Chatto’s dry garden – a converted car park to a gravel garden. Piet Oudolf, a Dutch garden designer, plant nursery man and author who practices a more naturalistic approach to gardening. Composts: Dalefoot Wool Compost and Jack’s Magic All Purpose Improved Compost (reduced peat) and New Horizon Peat-Free Compost. Broadleaf p4, using John Innes Compost as an additive. Kathy likes to use Evergreen Compost , who offer peat-free, peat-reduced and a traditional compost containing sphagnum moss peat. Water retaining granules such as Broadleaf P4 and Swelgel, which can be added to compost and soil to help retain moisture around the plant’s roots. Garden photographer Clive Nichols and the early morning photo shoot.

Kathy Brown’s Books The Edible Flower Garden, Container Gardening, Kathy Brown's Recipes For Easy Container Gardening and A Bulb for all Seasons

To find out more about Kathy’s Garden, opening details, Kathy’s lectures and how to book a visit click here

Our thanks to Chiltern Music Therapy for providing the music.

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