Chris Beardshaw’s top tips for creating a show stopping garden

01 July 2013

Chris Beardshaw The McCarthy & Stone Garden at RHS Hampton Court Flower Show 2013

To celebrate McCarthy & Stone joining forces with the award winning garden designer Chris Beardshaw at this year’s RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show, we asked the popular broadcaster to create some top tips that we could share so that we too can make an impact with our own gardens this summer.

While his design for the McCarthy & Stone Garden at the RHS show this month will provide a show-stopping display which challenges the preconceptions age and celebrates the wisdom of those in later life, Chris believes that even the smallest of gardens can have that ‘wow’ factor, and is keen to offer his advice so that people at home can create some stunning displays in their own back yards.  

Here are a few ideas for jobs to be doing in your garden this coming summer

  1. Growing a variety of herbs can be so rewarding so make the most of them running riot in your garden by using and harvesting frequently. Fresh Oregano, Marjoram, Thyme or Basil are perfect for throwing onto a quick pizza supper or into fresh drinks – their heady scent transports you to the Mediterranean and livens up a simple meal. Try adding to salads and garlic breads too.
  2. Thin seedlings - Take a few moments to thin out your seedling crops of lettuces, radishes, spinach, beetroot, carrots and rocket to create more space for the developing crop and create a salad for your supper at the same time from the thinnings. 
  3. Fertilizer - Apply a slow release fertilizer around all shrubs, trees, fruit and vegetables and on the surface of your containers. This can last for several months and is a slow and steady form of plant food for the whole garden. It removes the need for watering on liquid feed every couple of weeks so cuts down on time and water.
  4. Baskets, pots and containers - Pots, tubs and hanging baskets planted up with Pelargoniums, Fushias, and Petunias can now be safely placed in their flowering positions as the danger of frosts has passed. Be sure to keep a regular check on the watering of your containers applying a little and often principle rather than drought and deluge. This not only causes the plants considerably less stress but also produces a much more robust and compact floriferous plant. Try and water twice a day in morning and evening and every 5-7 days incorporate a liquid feed high in phosphates and potassium to encourage flowering rather than leaf growth. Don’t forget that as flowers fade, no matter what the species of plant, pinch them out just below the flower to encourage the production of more flowers rather than allowing the plant to go to seed. 
  5. Butterfly and Bee friendly gardens - This is a key time of the year for butterflies and bees that are in search of energy providing nectar. Bumble Bees will be seeking large fluted flowers like Penstemons, Foxgloves and Figwort whilst solitary and honey bees will be craving members of the daisy family. These are the composite plants where dozens of flowers are clustered in a single bloom for rich reward and include Asters, Coreopsis, Rudbekia.  Butterflies and Moths with their longer tongue can probe into deep throated tubular flowers like Honeysuckle, Verbena bonariensis and Jasmine. So if your garden isn’t already stocked with a range of all these flowering plants for these beautiful insects then visit a nursery or garden centre now to fill gaps in your borders or to fill pots – just remember they all like full sun. 

If you are visiting the Hampton Court Flower show between 9th – 14th July, you’ll find The McCarthy & Stone Garden in the Inspire Zone of the Show. Number IN258.



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Linda Bird “Need help with my garden thanks for the tips any more would be great. ”