Episode 165 - Show Notes & Advice

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episode 165 | show notes & advice

episode description

Knepp plays host to one of the most breathtaking rewilding projects in Britain, and from it we can take such inspiration to channel into our own green spaces.


Sharing the evolution of the project from its initial thousand species and how you can encourage biodiversity in your garden is Charlie Harpur - Knepp’s Head Gardener joins Sarah this week alongside her husband, Adam Nicolson.


In this episode, discover

  • How much or how little control you should impose on a garden that’s being rewilded
  • Charlie’s work with Tom Stuart-Smith, Jekka McVicar and James Hitchmough
  • Knepp’s work on balancing what each plant provides, not allowing dominant species to run rampant
  • Why we at home should focus on succession throughout the year


links and references



Knepp Rewilding Project:



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Order Sarah’s book - A Year Full of Flowers

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Episode 165 advice sheet

The Knepp Rewilding Project’s early days (2:05)

Charlie first shares the story of how the land at Knepp became the vast expanse of rewilding that it’s become today, from the origins around 24 years ago to the inspiration derived from a Dutch rewilding project.

How much control they impose on the project (8:45)

The rewilding project isn’t a tailored garden, yet it’s also not pure ecological restoration either - the reality lies between, taking inspiration from what’s outside in the wider landscape.


They began with around a thousand species in under an acre, and the types of flowers that were introduced followed the ethos of a vital question: how to maximise biodiversity.





Balancing species against each other and what they provide (16:00)

A huge concern, and sometimes a source of jovial debate at Knepp, lies in deciding not to allow certain plants to overtake others, balancing what they bring to the project. Not only are aesthetics a consideration, but provision for pollinators and impact on other plant species too.

How to bring the best of Knepp into your own garden (27:45)

Returning the focus to our own spaces, Charlie shares the principles from Knepp’s project that we should bring into our gardens, namely how we should think about succession throughout the year.


Charlie also lauds the value in mixing native and non-native plants, since a selection of both can work wonders for biodiversity.

Episode 164 advice sheet

Easy edibles and a classy, colourful Zinnia (3:10)

Top of Jemima’s list is the Calendula Touch of Red Mix, which is such a simple way to bring a fiery flair to any mixed jug of simple flowers, and they’re so productive as cut and come again flowers.


Following those up with a flower that’s beautiful at every stage of its cycle as a half-hardy annual, Zinnia elegans ‘Queeny Red Lime’ is a classy blend of green and red worthy of any beginner’s garden.

A Linaria perfect for instant impact (10:45)

The Linaria maroccana ‘Sweeties’ earns its spot on this list for being such a quick plant to grow - you’ll have amazing flowers in 10-12 weeks, and with seared stem ends they’ll give you nearly two weeks of dazzling vase life.

A bold, brilliant cut-and-come-again Cosmos (16:50)

Cut and come again flowers are some of the most rewarding for new gardeners for just how much they give you, and Cosmos Double Click Cranberries tops out as one of the best. It’s like a handful of ruffled silk with striking colour, and they’re a hit with pollinators too.

How to make Icelandic Poppies thrive (24:50)

Perhaps the most challenging of the beginner plants on this list, the Champagne Bubbles Mix of Icelandic Poppies is a wash of watercolour that’s well worth the extra effort.


Jemima and Sarah share why Icelandic Poppies can be tricky, and how to treat them for best results - it’s a flower that doesn’t like root disturbance, so taking care when transplanting seedlings will help them shine as they flower all summer long.

A stunning selection of Sweet Peas that couldn’t be missed (30:10)

For their universal charm, Sweet Peas couldn’t be missed on this list, and among Jemima’s favourites are the Spanish bullfighter red of ‘Prince of Orange’, more saturated pink-red of ‘Scarlett’, and fragrant violet presence of ‘Cupani’.