The Garden Podcast

2018 to 2021

Update January 2021: We’ve decided to move all of our podcasts into one easy-to-find place. So if you want to hear more about what The Garden magazine has to offer, then make sure you’re subscribed to our main show, Gardening with the RHS – where you can hear from us and the wider RHS team every week.

January 2021 – A frond farewell

In the final edition of The Garden Podcast, Chris is joined by garden writer and podcast regular Melissa Mabbitt for a look back at the highlights of the programme in 2020, an extraordinary year in gardening. Including an interview with a new RHS President with perhaps the best name ever; a discussion on garden-making with Rachel de Thame and a celebration of an unsung veg garden hero with food writer Mark Diacono. Plus we talk to a Wisley-based horticulturist who's also called Chris Young about the delights of growing indoor ferns as houseplants. 

Useful links: ►Gardening with the RHS podcast ►The Garden magazine  ►Join us

December 2020 – Homegrown Christmas decorations, city garden design and gardens for wellbeing

Renowned florist Simon Lycett offers tips on what you can pick from your garden to make homegrown floral displays this Christmas. Designer Adolfo Harrison reveals the thought processes behind a joyful and striking small urban garden featured in the magazine this month. Plus columnist Lia Leendertz shares her thoughts on the value of gardens for health and wellbeing.

Useful links: ►Simon Lycett  Adolfo Harrison  ►Lia Leendertz ►Gardening for health and wellbeing ►The Garden magazine  ►Join us

This month, Chris speaks to one of Britain’s foremost ornamental grass experts, Neil Lucas – proprietor of Knoll Gardens. From tiny seslerias to towering miscanthus, Neil shares tips on choosing and using grasses in a variety of situations. Historian Ambra Edwards discusses the legacy of legendary 17th-century plantsman and polymath John Evelyn. And finally, broadcaster Michael Perry talks about an unusual new plant on the block that’s as good outdoors as it is as a houseplant – the exotic-looking and drought-tolerant mangave*.

Useful links: ►Ornamental grassesKnoll Gardens ►10 award-winning autumn grasses ►Michael Perry on mangave ►RHS new plants blog: Agave* ‘Lavender Lady’ ► ►The Garden magazine  ►Join us

*Please note, the naming of these plants is a controversial topic; botanically they are listed variously as Agave, × Mangave and Mangave.

Selected plants mentioned: Stipa tenuissima, Carex comans, Carex ‘Ice Dance’, Sesleria ‘Spring Dream’, Miscanthus sinensis ‘Malepartus’, Mangave ‘Bad Hair Day’, ‘Macho Mocha’, ‘Pineapple Express’ and ‘Lavender Lady’ ►RHS Find a plant

Link opens in a new windowOctober 2020 – Pears, asters and tulip trees

How do you pick the perfect pear? Food writer and grower Mark Diacono shares tips on growing, storing and eating this most delicious of autumn fruits. Dr Andrew Ward of Norwell Nurseries gives tips on growing asters and Peter Jones of RHS Garden Wisley takes an expert look at tulip trees (Liriodendron). 

Useful links: ►How to grow pears ►Asters (Symphyotrichum)►Find more information and suppliers of tulip trees (Liriodendron) ►The Garden magazine  ►Join us

Link opens in a new windowSeptember 2020 – Welcoming a new president, gardening careers, pineapple lilies

Chris talks to incoming RHS President Keith Weed about his aspirations in his new role. Writer and Wisley graduate Holly Farrell extols the virtues of learning your trade with an RHS Diploma in Practical Horticulture, highlighting some of the incredible opportunities that this course may provide. Plus, Alan Street of Avon Bulbs shares his love of an unusual late summer flower: Eucomis, the pineapple lily. 

Useful links: ►RHS education ►Careers in horticultureEucomis ►The Garden magazine  ►Join us

Life-long vegetable grower and cucumber connoisseur Sue Stickland shares her secrets of success for growing cucumbers outdoors. Garden designer Paul Spracklin encourages us to brave the prickly pleasures of outdoor cacti. His Essex garden (in the driest part of the country) contains dozens of species usually seen only under glass. Plus, RHS Entomologist Andy Salisbury encourages us to take a closer look at some of summer’s finest songsters; crickets and grasshoppers.

Useful links: ►Grow your own: cucumbersHardy cacti ►Wildlife gardening ►The Garden magazine  ►Join us

What do salsas, sauces for sea bass, and knickerbocker glories all have in common? They’re all good uses for the humble redcurrant of course! Food writer Mark Diacono shares his love of redcurrants, along with their white and pink cousins; plus interviews on famous authors’ gardens with Daisy Johnson, and urban garden design with designer Bradley Viljoen.

Useful links: ►Find a plant ►Grow your own: redcurrants ►The Garden magazine  ►Join us

Selected plants mentioned: Silene fimbriata, Arum italicum, Betula utilis var. jacquemontii

Jersey tiger, vapourer, Mother Shipton… this month we flutter into the weird and wonderful world of day-flying moths with RHS scientist Dr Stephanie Bird. Back on the ground, multiple award-winning herb grower Jekka McVicar shares wisdom gained from a lifetime of working with, growing, cooking and preserving aromatic plants. Plus, legendary plantsman Roy Lancaster takes us on a voyage to far-off lands through the exotic plants growing in his garden.

Useful links: ►Find a plantThe Garden magazine  ►Join us

This month, Chris talks to broadcaster, industry insider and lover of all things brazen, Mr Plant Geek (aka Michael Perry) about an undeservedly neglected but hardworking plant, the nasturtium. Michael shares growing tips and outlines some of its many different and wonderful varieties.

David Ware of pioneering eco-friendly nursery Edibleculture describes how the company has managed to go peat free and is now attempting to eliminate plastic waste too as part of an ongoing quest to ‘green’ its entire business. Plus, a behind-the-scenes look at how The Garden magazine team are coping with lockdown.

Useful links: ►Find a plantThe Garden magazine  ►Join us

April 2020  – Your wellbeing garden, gin botanicals and The Plant Review 

Did you know that growing plants can boost your mental health and wellbeing, and even help boost your immunity? Chris talks to Alistair Griffiths, RHS Director of Science, about his new book Your Wellbeing Garden, co-authored with award-winning garden designer Matt Keightley. 

Also, this month, garden writer Naomi Slade explores the sparklingly fragrant world of home-grown gin botanicals, offering plenty of suggestions that will help you take your G&T to the next level, including zingy lemon balm, floral cornflowers and many more. Plus an editors’ tête à tête. James Armitage shares a peek inside this month’s The Plant Review with stories of delicious yellow snowdrops, tales of garden-making princesses and plant hunting in far-off lands.

Useful links: ►RHS Your Wellbeing Garden ► The Plant Review  ►Find a plantThe Garden magazine  ►Join us

Leaves are green, right? Wrong! Curator Matt Pottage shares the reds, oranges, yellows and even shocking pinks to be found among the spring foliage at RHS Garden Wisley. Chris talks to writer and broadcaster Jane Perrone about a life-changing gardening project at Yarl’s Wood Immigration Removal Centre near Bedford. This month’s plant rant is the often-maligned bergenia. Garden writer Melissa Mabbitt and Deputy Editor Phil Clayton share the good and the bad, and give suggestions of the best varieties and how to use them.

Useful links:  ►Find a plantThe Garden magazine  ►Join us

Selected plants mentioned

Trees for spring leaf colour: Toona sinensis ‘Flamingo’, Cercidiphyllum ‘Rotfuchs’ (‘Red Fox’), Acer pseudoplatanus ‘Brilliantissimum’, Acer platanoides ‘Walderseei’.

Bergenia varieties: Berginia ciliata, B. eroica, B. pacumbis, B. purpurascens, ‘Schneekoenigin’ (‘Snow Queen’), ‘Abendglut’.

Rachel de ThameFebruary 2020 – Rachel de Thame on garden making, snowdrop secrets and tackling a new plant disease

When was the last time you stepped back and took a long hard look at your garden? Television presenter and writer Rachel de Thame talks to Chris about her new column discussing how and why gardeners should tackle making changes to their plots. Former RHS Director General and confirmed galanthophile Gordon Rae shares his love of snowdrops and their surprising diversity. Plus Head of Plant Health, Gerard Clover, explores one of the biggest threats facing UK gardens and horticulture today: the bacterial plant disease xylella.

Useful links: ►Gardening inspiration: How to deal with a mature garden  ►More info on snowdrops  ►XylellaFind a plantThe Garden magazine  ►Join us

Philodendron melanochrysumJanuary 2020 – Gardening for mental health, houseplants on the rampage and Roy Lancaster’s garden

As increasing evidence links exposure to gardens and gardening to improved mental health and wellbeing, Chris talks to The Garden columnist Lia Leendertz about her own experiences in this field. Meanwhile, in the Wisley Glasshouse, strange things are afoot as a green army prepares to invade an abandoned Victorian house. Callum Munro-Faure shares advice on some of the stars of the show, the weird and wonderful aroids or Araceae family. And finally, plant-hunter extraordinaire Roy Lancaster takes us on a tour of his Hampshire garden, chock-full of exotic plants from around the globe.

Useful links: Gardening for health and wellbeing  ►RHS advice: HouseplantsThe Giant Houseplant Takeover at Wisley ►Find a plantThe Garden magazine  ►Join us

Selected plants mentioned

Aroids:  Golden pothos (Epipremnum aureum), Philodendron melanochrysum, Philodendron ‘Pink Princess’

Roy Lancaster’s garden:  Himalayacalamus falconeri, Embothrium coccineum (Lanceolatum Group), Betula luminifera, Carpinus fangiana, Chamaerops humilis ‘Vulcano’, Trachycarpus wagnerianus

December 2019 – Grow your own Christmas dinner, going plastic-free and Christmas tree secrets

Have you ever fantasised about growing all the veg for Christmas dinner? This month Chris talks to expert grower Sue Stickland who’s been doing just that for years. She shares her hard-won tips on the varieties to choose, how to harvest to beat the weather and more. 

Sally Nex shares the wisdom she’s gained over a year spent reducing her use of plastic in the garden – a journey that has been charted in a 10-part column in The Garden. Plus Christmas tree-grower Simon Maughan shares the secrets of selecting and growing the perfect festive foliage.

►RHS advice: grow your own fruit and veg ►Plastic-free gardening ►RHS advice: Christmas trees   ►Christmas with the RHS  ►The Garden magazine  ►Join us 

November 2019 – Gardening for health and wellbeing, a bounty of British pears and bamboo: beauty or beast?

Do you know your ‘Swan’s Egg’ from your ‘Autumn Nelis’ or ‘Bishop’s Thumb’? Gerry Edwards, Chair of the RHS Fruit Group, shares his love of heritage pear varieties and offers tips on how to grow them. Plus, bamboo – graceful greenery or rampaging rogue? Garden writer Melissa Mabbitt and Deputy Editor Phil Clayton debate the merits of this divisive plant and give advice on how to grow (and control) it.

Gardeners have long known that being outdoors and surrounded by plants quite simply makes you feel better. Now scientific studies are starting to bear this out – and the NHS is taking notice. We talk to Professor Tim Kendall about how horticulture is making its way into the health service.

How to create a feel-good garden  ►RHS advice: grow your own pearsMore info on bamboo  ►The Garden magazine  ►Join us


Cooking applesOctober 2019 – Dan Pearson’s designs for Lowther Castle, secrets of great compost, celebrating the tastes of cooking apples

Internationally renowned, award-winning garden designer Dan Pearson talks to Chris about an exciting project to breathe new life into the gardens of a ruined castle high in the Cumbrian hills. Garden writer Melissa Mabbitt shares the down-to-earth secrets of making great compost, following a recent visit with RHS Garden Harlow Carr’s ‘Queen of Compost’ Alison Mundie. Finally, food writer Mark Diacono discusses the last in his ‘Tastes to celebrate’ series: cooking apples – sharing favourite varieties, great ways to use and store them and giving some cultivation advice too.

Lowther Castle & Gardens  ►How to make garden compostRHS grow your own: apples  ►Discover historic apples with the RHS Lindley Libraries  ► The Garden magazine  ►Join us


Lobelia bequaertiiSeptember 2019 – Podcast takeover: The Plant Review

This month the podcast is taken over by The Garden’s sister publication, The Plant Review (formerly The Plantsman). Hear renowned plant collector Roy Lancaster as he takes you on a tour of his Hampshire garden, while author and Director of the Yorkshire Arboretum, John Grimshaw, recounts expeditions in search of the weird, wonderful and utterly un-growable plants of the East African highlands. Back at sea level, magazine editors past and present discuss their ‘desert island plants’.

Desert island plant selections: Corynabultilon (syn. Abutilon) ochsenii, Eryngium × zabelii ‘Jos Eijking’, Musa basjooClematis montana var. grandiflora
August 2019 – Crocosmias, commas and capturing the perfect garden photo

Chris talks to John Foley of Holden Clough nursery – a man on a mission to show the world that crocosmias are so much more than the old-fashioned montbretia of yesteryear. Plus the magazine’s Sub Editor Jeremy Kirk shares the quirks of his job, and and internationally-renowned garden photographer and RHS Photographic Competition judge Andrea Jones offers tips on getting the perfect garden photo.

►RHS Find a plant: CrocosmiaThe Garden magazine  ►Join the RHS  ►RHS Photographic Competition
July 2019 – Plant rant: do hypericums cut the mustard? Plus bringing in the bees and exploring exotic edibles in Essex

Hypericums are popular plants in municipal plantings – but do they have a place in gardens too? This month garden writer Melissa Mabbitt and Deputy Editor Phil Clayton discuss the charms of this often-maligned genus, which has recently been the subject of an RHS Plant Trial. Meanwhile, wildlife expert Jean Vernon describes the diversity of native British bees and offers tips on how to encourage them in our gardens. And finally, Digital Features Editor Gareth Richards shares his exotic edible discoveries from a recent trip to Hyde Hall’s Global Growth Vegetable Garden.

Find more info and suppliers of hypericum plantsPlants for pollinators The Garden magazine  ►Join the RHS  ►Visit RHS Garden Hyde Hall
Gooseberry displayJune 2019 – Make your own roof garden, the joys of the gooseberry and going peat free

This month, Mark Diacono continues his series championing growing for taste with a look at our spiky friend, the gooseberry. Chris talks to him about how best to cook them, and why they’ve fallen out of fashion. Meanwhile, Emily Erlam, the designer of a London roof garden, gives tips on how to create your own lofty paradise. Plus, we talk to Catherine Dawson, the Technical  Director at Melcourt Industries, about going peat free, and the innovations that promise to reduce the environmental cost of horticulture.

Grown your own gooseberriesPeat-free composts   ►The Garden magazine  ►Join the RHS  ►Get RHS gardening advice online

May 2019 – A walk on the Wildside, wisteria wisdom and gardening advice goes digital

Keith Wiley’s remarkable Devon garden, Wildside, makes a stunning feature in this month’s magazine. Chris talks to Keith about his unique approach to planting and how his experience of wild plant communities translates into a garden setting. Matt Pottage, curator of RHS Garden Wisley, revels in the seasonal delights of wisteria – sharing tips on varieties and updates to received wisdom about pruning. Finally, Jenny Bowden explains the new online gardening advice service for RHS members.

►See the Wisteria Arch at RHS Garden WisleyWisteria monograph  ►The Garden magazine  ►Join the RHS  ►Get RHS gardening advice online
April 2019 – The state of the nation’s nurseries, how to choose compost, going plastic-free

Plant nurseries are the lifeblood of gardening and garden shows in the UK. In these challenging times, are they managing to survive and thrive? Chris talks to garden writer Melissa Mabbitt to find out. Are you confused when faced with a barrage of compost options at the garden centre? This month, the magazine features a handy guide to help you find the right compost for you, and Deputy Editor Phil Clayton gives advice on this topic and shares his personal experiences with peat-free compost. Finally, professional gardener and author Sally Nex charts her quest to rid her garden of plastic.

►RHS Plant Finder online and in print  ►RHS Master Grower initiative ►Peat-free composts  ►How to go plastic-free in your gardenThe Garden magazine  ►Join the RHS

March 2019 – An insider’s peek at RHS Chelsea Flower Show, rhubarb rhubarb and fast flowers from seed

March is one of the biggest issues of The Garden magazine and in celebration we’ve got a podcast jam-packed with gardening goodness. Chris gets an insider’s guide to this year’s RHS Chelsea Flower Show with News Editor Anisa Gress, who shares news on exciting designs and highlights to look out for.

Then it’s back down to earth as for a discussion on the delights of rhubarb with writer, grower and cook Mark Diacono; then Ursula Cholmeley of Easton Walled Gardens shares her favourite first-year-flowering perennials to grow from seed.

RHS Chelsea Flower Show  ►How to grow rhubarbMore info on perennials  ► The Garden magazine  ►RHS Photographic Competition

February 2019 – Spawning glories, drought lessons and how to beat tomato blight

This month we dip into the murky waters of garden ponds to get a seasonal lowdown on frog spawn from wildlife expert Helen Bostock. We discuss the gardening lessons that can be taken from last summer’s extreme weather conditions with Principal Horticultural Advisor Leigh Hunt. Plus, an expert look at tomato blight from lifelong plant breeder Simon Crawford who shares his tips on how gardeners can avoid it.

Useful links  ►Advice on garden ponds   ►RHS find a plant   ►RHS ScienceTips on tomato blight  ►Dealing with drought  ►The Garden magazine  ►Join the RHS

January 2019 – Wintergreen ferns with Matt Pottage, fabulous foliage at Rosemoor and CSI Wisley

In this episode we unfurl the best wintergreen ferns with Wisley Curator Matt Pottage. From flamboyant and exotic woodwardias to the delightful, diminuitive native polypody, there’s a fern to add greenery to any garden throughout the darkest months.  Plus, Jon Webster shares the delights of the Foliage Garden at Rosemoor; and if you thought pathology was confined to glossy TV dramas, think again, as Plant Pathologist Jassy Drakulic shares insight into her role at the forefront of keeping our beloved specimens safe from all manner of garden baddies.

Useful links  ►Visit Wisley RHS find a plant   ►RHS Science   ►Rosemoor’s Foliage Garden (tree mentioned is Chamaecyparis lawsoniana ‘Imbricata Pendula’)   ►The Garden magazine  ►Join the RHS

Roy LancasterDecember 2018 – Roy Lancaster on conifers, glitter on cacti and how to make your amaryllis flower again

This month, The Garden throws off the shackles of horticultural haute couture and takes a look at some of the least fashionable plants out there. Are dyed, glitter-encrusted and spray-painted plants abominations or a good way to get seasonal colour and encourage new gardeners? Plus plant hunter and author Roy Lancaster VMH shares his life-long love of conifers and Karen Robbirt from the RHS Plant Trials’ team offers insight into what it takes to get your Christmas amaryllis (properly known as Hippeastrum) to re-flower next year.

Useful links  ►Follow the novelty plants debate on Twitter  ►RHS find a plant   ►Amaryllis / Hippeastrum growing advice    ►How to care for conifersThe Garden magazine 

November 2018 – Unexpected berried treasures of autumn, how war shaped British gardens

Dead men’s fingers, beauty berry, Himalayan honeysuckle and peonies to name but a few… In this episode we meet the unusual suspects providing seasonal colour with a range of delightful fruits. Chris also talks to garden historian Ambra Edwards about the surprising legacy of the First World War on British gardens.

►10 AGM-winning shrubs for autumn berries  ►Learn more about garden history with the RHS Lindley Libraries  ► The Garden magazine  ►RHS Find a plant online

Albizzia julibrissinOctober 2018 – Wildlife at Great Dixter; choosing and planting summer-flowering trees

Chris Young talks to Fergus Garrett, head gardener at Great Dixter, about the incredible diversity of life that calls this world-famous garden home. The garden, created by the late plantsman and writer Christopher Lloyd (known affectionately as ‘Christo’) is well known as a treasure trove of plants, but it has only recently become apparent that it’s also fantastically rich in biodiversity.

Meanwhile at Wisley, horticulturist and garden manager Emma Allen shares her favourite summer-flowering trees and offers advice on how to plant them now that the main tree-planting season is fast approaching.

Great DixterPlants for Bugs research  ► The Garden magazine  ►more RHS advice on planting trees  ►Flowering trees for small gardens

►Listen to the fortnightly RHS Gardening Podcast

►See the archived feed of our former RHS Members’ podcast (Feb 2013 – July 2018)


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