Beechgrove Garden ep.19 2015

In the Beechgrove Garden Jim and Carole are waging war on pests and take on 4 baddies; vine weevil, whitefly, slugs and snails. They identify the pest and its symptoms and recommend a few cures.
Chris is back with his new-build couple, Jenny and Euan MacLean in Linlithgow. After months of work from Jenny and Euan this is Chris's final visit and this time it's the finishing touches - the fun bit, the planting.
George visits Monteviot Garden near Jedburgh. This stunning 30-acre garden surrounds the house and spills out through richly-planted garden rooms down to the River Teviot below.

Beechgrove Garden ep.19 2015
Beechgrove Garden ep.19 2015

It was a very wet day at Beechgrove – a typical summer’s day for this year. Jim and Carole were
in the Driveway Garden reviewing Jim’s beefriendly hardy annuals and some climbing annuals.
There has been mixed success.The Californian poppy looks stunning as it does in Carole’s scatter seed mix plots – although it could do with a bit of sun for the flowers to open up.Dwarf Nasturtium ‘Banana Split’ are also flowering well although there are some rogue flowers in red and orange.
Gypsophila ‘Monarch White’ was also in full flower and Jim had brought Gypsophila elegans
‘Kermesina’, with its pretty pink flowers, over from the cutting garden for comparison.
Last week the star of the show was the bonny Gilia ‘Twilight’. Sadly this has now taken a battering from the heavy rain.A living willow support had been planted at the back of the border to hide the ugly breeze block wall and is now looking attractive. Willow trimmings from the fedge (fence/hedge) were used to weave this support.The annual climbers are not looking so good.The Cobaea has plenty of growth but no flowers.The sweet peas are starting to flower and the Ipomoea really needs lots more sun and heat. Back to the hardy annuals: the Nigella (not shown in the pictures) has been slow to flower due to the bad weather.The cornflower is looking good with plenty of flower.Like the nasturtium, the Candytuft also has some rogue flowers in the mix. The Nemophila has been knocked to bits.

Jim and Carole were in the Conservatory lookingat three different pests.Firstly there was the sap-sucking insect pest, whitefly. They explained that this tends to be a pest of indoor plants like cucumbers and fuchsias.They cause damage by feeding off the sap and by excreting a sticky honeydew which then leads to the growth of sooty mould on the leaves. Jim explained that natural sprays can be used which contain fatty acids and rapeseed oil. You do need get a good coverage of the spray as whiteflies live on both sides of the leaf.
You should also re-apply the spray as and when necessary. Hanging yellow sticky traps in the greenhouse or conservatory will also work but unfortunately they will attract and catch everything including goodies such as butterflies and bees.
Carole explained that there is also a biological control for whitefly. This is called Encarsia - a
parasitic wasp which eats the whitefly. You do need the right conditions – minimum temperatures of 10 °C. This biological control can be bought as cards which can be hung up amongst the plants.
Secondly they talked about slugs and snails which have been a real nuisance again this year.
They eat and shred plant leaves like those of the Hosta. Slug pellets can be used as a control.
These come in the form of organic (ferric phosphate) or inorganic (metaldehyde) blue pellets. These should be used little and often and ideally covered to protect them from rain and to stop the birds eating them.Jim’s preferred method is to use a beer trap (‘slug pub’). There are commercially available traps on the market. A cheaper option is to sink a jam jar into the ground with the rim of the jar just above the soil level to stop beneficial wildlife from falling in. This can then be filled with beer to attract the slugs – they fall in and drown, happily. There are also barrier methods for slug and snail control.These include gravel and crushed egg shells. Jim says that baking egg shells first makes them
sharper and a more effective defence. The biological control for slugs is a tiny nematode. These are added to water and watered on to the affected area. Again, you do need the right conditions –minimum temperatures of 5°C and good soil drainage. Jim commented that this can be an expensive
method and possibly best used for treasured plants only. Finally they looked at vine weevil.There is a nematode which will kill the larvae. The adult vine weevil lays eggs in the ground.Larvae emerge and eat the fleshy roots of plants such as rhododendron and primula.The adult vine weevils cause damage to the plant by chewing notches into the edges of the leaves.Vine weevils are all female and can lay up to 1200 eggs at a time.Glue bands or glue placed around the rims of pots can be used around plants to trap the adult vine weevils.Vine weevils are nocturnal and can’t fly. They can be caught by placing a cardboard tube out in the garden overnight. Jim also suggested going out at night and putting a piece of white cloth under plants and gently shaking the plants.The vine weevils will drop off and can be spotted easily by torchlight and can then be disposed of.