Gardeners' World: Monty Don explains why people should mulch

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On Gardeners’ World, Rachel de Thame visited Anglesey Abbey in Cambridgeshire where she admired a garden designed to look its best in winter. Frances visited an experimental garden where they were testing which plants could survive without watering.

After the UK’s record-high temperatures over the summer which saw hosepipe bans introduced, gardeners are looking for plants that are drought-tolerant.

The experimental garden identified which plants could thrive in arid conditions and which ones couldn’t.

Viewers also sent in clips showing what they had been up to in their gardens.

Later on in the episode, Frances shared how to look after plants and crops in the winter months without “spending a fortune”.

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She said: “You don’t need to spend a fortune in order to be productive in the garden.

“Look at these beautiful twigs that are being used to support the plants.”

The twigs were supporting squashes and beans. Rods, which are usually used to reinforce concrete, were also being repurposed to grow beans up.

“If you are growing plants organically, especially vegetables, then looking after the soil is really important,” she added.

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To keep crops “looking good” gardeners need to take great care of their soil.

Frances had a barrel full of grass clippings which she used as mulch.

The gardening expert said: “[It] might look odd but it works really beautifully as a mulch.

“You just sprinkle that around the base of the plants. It will keep moisture in. It will keep weeds down.

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“Eventually, when that rots, it will feed the soil.

“I do exactly the same on my allotment – only using the weeds I’ve pulled up!”

Later in the programme, Nick Bailey studied the science of growing hardy orchids from seed.

Arit Anderson also visited a walled garden that’s undergone a radical transformation.

The garden on the Knepp Estate in West Sussex had been rewarded to increase biodiversity.

There was also a gardener in Worcestershire who had amassed an astonishing collection of cacti and succulents.

Gardeners’ World is available to stream on BBC iPlayer.

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