No, I’m not talking about the world financial situation, nor am I talking about reducing the number of plants that I buy. I’m talking about pruning the roses and the clematis and cutting back the coloured stems which have been giving the garden areas of interest over the winter. It is so easy to talk about all the beautiful, wonderful flowers that are popping up all over the place, but there is work to be done !!
Also needing cutting back are the old flower heads on the hydrangeas which have been left to protect the new shoots which will form this years flowers.
They look so much better once the old flowers have gone, we will still have frosts but the new shoots should be able to cope by now.
Certain shrubs need to be cut back at this time of year because they flower much better on young wood. The first one which springs to mind is the Buddleja, this was cut down by half at the beginning of the winter to prevent it rocking in the gales that we had,
so now it has to be cut as low as possible as it will put on at least 6ft of growth during the summer. I want to be able to see all the butterflies when they come visiting!
Another shrub that I always cut back is Spiraea “Goldflame” which we planted under the pergola. If we didn’t cut it back it would flop too far across the path but also it does seem to flower better after a good haircut.
I know how it feels, I have just been to the hairdressers and she cut far too much off, never mind, it and my hair will grow in time !!
The stems from Cornus alba sibirica “Westonbirt” have been fantastic all winter with their bright red stems, but now is the time for the chop. Young stems are much brighter than older ones so they have to be sacrificed.
Here’s one done, only 14 more bushes to go. They will receive a handful of manure to boost their growth so that they will be even better by next autumn.
More stems to come down belong to Salix alba “Britzensis” which we have at the far side of the pond helping to screen the vegetable area.
Last year I was able to give all the stems to a friend who wanted to weave them into plant supports, maybe I will have a go myself this year.
The roses were cut back by half in the autumn to prevent wind rock, so now there is just a bit more pruning to do. This one is Rosa “Bonica” which I grew from a cutting.
This rose flowers all summer long, never gets blackspot, but unfortuately doesn’t have any perfume, still you can’t have everything.
Clematis viticellas are desperate for their trim, masses of top growth to come off, mustn’t look to see how many new shoots are being cut away, just keep your head down and cut to the lowest shoots,
otherwise you will never see the flowers , they will be so high up.
Ornamental grasses that were so beautiful last autumn are now bleached blond and looking rather a mess after the winter gales. Chop them off and make room for all the lovely new shoots that will look so good over the summer.
When the new shoots grow they bring real movement to the garden each time the wind blows and contrast beautifully with evergreens planted nearby.
The golden bamboo, Pleioblastus viridistriatis, needs cutting right back to curb its enthusiasm,
one year I forgot to do this and in no time at all it was popping up all over the lawn in a take over bid!
So, I’ve now made a start, lots more to do though, but while I am chopping merrily away I will be thinking of how much better everything will look in a few months time. When I am wandering around in the summer thinking how pretty everything looks, then I will remember all the hard work done now that makes it all possible. It will be worth it.