Fiveways Gardens...August 2014

Climbing and rambling roses are incredibly vigorous plants, and need managing to get the best out of them, so prune now.  If not, you'll find that they'll become bare at the bottom with all the glorious flowers so high you can't really enjoy them.  Same goes for most climbing honeysuckles and jasmines too, and remember to tie young shoots in nice and low to create the best screen.  Some of you have fantastic wisterias in your front gardens, that we all get to enjoy - thank you.  Now's the time to prune these too, although I heard from clients this year that some don't get pruned at all and seem to thrive... Hey ho.

As soon as they've finished flowering, trim lavenders, rosemary and spring/summer flowering hebes.  If not, they get leggy and woody and there's no getting back to the nice compact mound shapes.  Cut back hard, about 2-3cm into the green growth, not back into the brown woody stems.  Next year, you'll have bushy, healthy plants that don't need digging out and replacing - there, a money-saving tip in these hard times.  There are some useful pruning videos on the likes of YouTube, for those of you not quite sure what you should be doing.  This might be particularly useful for my next topic - fruit.

August is the time to prune trained pears and apples, eg espaliers and cordons.  In essence, this is what to do:

•·         Check for side shoots over 22cm long, which grew earlier in summer directly from the main stem, and cut them back to three leaves. Those stems that grew from existing side shoots or spurs can be pruned harder, to just one leaf beyond the cluster of leaves at the base of that stem.

•·         Leave shoots less than 15cm long until mid-September and then shorten to one leaf beyond the cluster of leaves at the base.

•·         Prune growth that forms after summer pruning in September (or October if pruning later).

If you have young trees, take a minute to look them up and read about how best to prune them - or check out those videos.  You'll end up with a much nicer shaped tree, if you prune it appropriately while it's still young.

Lawns are looking a bit on the brown side, but don't worry about it, as they'll soon bounce back with a bit of rain. 

If it's just too hot still to do any actual gardening, why not get ahead of the game and think about the bulbs you want to order for autumn planting?  Get yourself sorted quickly, as the super-organised people snap up all the best varieties.  Also, the bulbs will arrive in better condition and therefore are more likely to flower better (or at all...)  Autumn and winter flowering crocus and cyclamens can be planted now to flower in just a few months.  Daffs planted nice and early also make better plants, because they have that much longer to establish a decent root system, to support more flowers. 

Take it easy and enjoy your garden.


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