After a spot of brutal digging and dividing some years ago, the bamboo screen is coming along nicely, writes GINA PARKINSON, with a favourite golden bamboo taking star position.

WHEN we moved to this garden four-and-a-half years ago, a number of plants accompanied us. The previous owner, also a keen gardener, was kind enough to let us bring them early so the various containers of loved specimens were waiting for us on arrival at our new life.

One of these was a golden bamboo, a birthday gift from my husband’s mother. It had lived its life in a container and initially things remained the same. The tall plant was ideal to brighten a corner by the bins, but it hated the lonely, windy spot.

The following spring I had the idea to create a bamboo screen on our side of the boundary between us and the neighbouring garden. There were already two bamboos in the garden. These needed to be moved so the golden specimen could join them.

Bamboos can be rather large, depending on the species, and it took three of us to get the two garden- planted ones out of the ground and sliced in half with saws. It sounds brutal, which indeed it was, but three years later the plants are thriving in the semi-shaded spot they have made their home.

The four sections together with the golden bamboo were planted into a long trench divided by tall posts. Wires have been stretched behind and in front of the tall stems of the plants to create the effect of a living screen and the sections have slowly filled with annually produced new stems.

So far the plants have been obedient, staying within bounds and this is encouraged by regularly driving a spade into the outer limits of the bed. This breaks wayward runners should they be produced.

Golden bamboo, Phyllostachys aurea, is a clump-forming evergreen bamboo with long green young canes that become yellow as they mature. Their eventual height after ten years is likely to be between four and eight metres, with a spread of around half that.

They grow in full sun and partial shade, but need a sheltered spot away from cold winds which explains why our pot bound plant did so poorly in its spot by the bins.

Their preferred soil is moist but well-drained loam, but these tough plants are worth trying in less than perfect soils. They dislike dry or boggy conditions but will cope with much else.

In fact, bamboos grown in poorer soils are less likely to become invasive. Annual spring or autumn mulching will keep the soil in good condition. Bamboos also benefit from a spring clean with the removal of dead or spindly stems which allows the long healthy stems to be shown at their best.

Open Gardens


In aid of the National Gardens Scheme.

Fawley House, 7, Nordham, North Cave, HU15 2LT. Two-anda-half acre tiered garden with snowdrops and aconites, woodland with spring bulbs, mixed borders, sunken garden and a new fern and hellebore bed. Treasure hunt for children. Open 12pm-4pm, admission £4 adult. Also open today from noon to 4pm.

Goldsborough Hall, Church Street, Goldsborough, HG5 8NR. Recently restored 12-acre garden and formal landscaped grounds in a parkland setting. The long lime walk was planted by royalty in the 1920s and a new flower border features Rosa ‘Yorkshire Princess’ named after Princess Mary, who lived in the 17th-century hall. There is also a replanted double 120ft herbaceous border inspired by Gertrude Jekyll. Open noon to 4pm, admission £5 adult (share to St Mary’s Church, Goldsborough).

Weekend catch-up

MY DAY began very well on Mothering Sunday with TV advice from Monty Don and continued on the gardening theme with help from the under gardener in the greenhouse.

My super hero mother-in-law was visiting and as she is always keen to get into the garden, we decided to repot auriculas and sow sweet peas.

I have inherited a number of auriculas, firstly from my mother then a further offering from the sister of a friend. That’s how gardening goes sometimes. These lovely plants are pretty hardy but they needed new compost to give them a boost for spring.

Like many members of the primula family, auriculas are martyrs to vine weevil, especially when grown in pots. Sure enough we found a number of white grubs in the soil; fortunately they hadn’t yet caused any damage and they were sought and squashed. The compost has been changed and soaked with a dose of weevil exterminator.

So the auriculas are spruced up and ready to grow. Old foliage removed, overgrown stems chopped back to a new shoot and a good watering given.

At this point I wandered off to do a bit of planting, so mother-in-law continued with sowing sweet peas. Three to a pot of seed compost as suggested by Monty, watered, labelled and left in the greenhouse to grow. Sweet peas are hardy annuals and the greenhouse is quite warm at this time of year although the door will be closed at night to keep them warm if wintry weather returns.

Gardening TV and Radio


6am, BBC2, Life in a Cottage Garden with Carol Klein. It is summer at Glebe Cottage.
6.30am, BBC2, Great British Garden Revival. Conifers are in the spotlight.
7.30am, BBC2, Gardeners’ World. Monty Don champions chrysanthemums and shows how to get them off to a good start whilst Joe Swift offers advice on revamping a spring garden.
8am, Vale Radio, Down to Earth. William Jenkyns asks green-fingered or not so green-fingered listeners to share ideas. Vale Radio can be found at and on the app. 
8am, BBC Radio Humberside, The Great Outdoors. With Blair Jacobs and Doug Stewart.
9am, BBC Radio York, Julia Lewis. Gardening news and features from around North Yorkshire.
9am, BBC Radio Leeds, Tim Crowther and Joe Maiden.
2pm, BBC R4, Gardeners’ Question Time. Panellists Pippa Greenwood, Matt Biggs and Chris Beardshaw answer questions from an audience in Oxford. Peter Gibbs is in the chair.


9pm, Kew On A Plate. It is summer in the kitchen garden and Kate and Raymond are harvesting strawberries, protecting broad beans from aphids and looking at the history of garlic on the Isle of Wight.


3pm, BBC R4, Gardeners’ Question Time. A special programme from the Queens Gallery in Buckingham Palace which coincides with the launch of the exhibition Painting Paradise: the Art of the Garden. With chairman Eric Robson and panellists Chris Beardshaw, Christine Walkden and Bob Flowerdew.
8.30pm, BBC2, Gardeners’ World. Monty Don plants asparagus and shows how to divide hostas. Plus a report from South Africa exploring agapanthus in the wild.