Whilst we may not be getting any sunbathing weather just yet, there’s plenty still to keep yourself occupied and out in the garden at the moment. We’ve been out in our studio garden tidying up our perennials and deadheading anything that’s past its best. Deadheading is not a necessity, but it does keep the borders looking better and more importantly, it encourages more blooms. Flowers start to fade once they’ve been pollinated, and seed heads, pods and capsules start to form, directing the plants energy away from flower production. By deadheading and removing spent flowers, you encourage the plant to put more energy into producing more flowers.
The quickest way to do this is pinching the flower and stalk off between finger and thumb; this can be done as and when you see a faded flower, or as you are coming in and out of the house. For tough or stringy stems, use secateurs or a knife for a clean cut.
For most plants, e.g. annuals or perennials, trim back to a fresh bud or a leaf as this will encourage growth from that point. Some perennials can be cut right down to the ground which will encourage a full second flush, this works particularly well with geraniums, lupins and delphiniums. For roses, there’s no need to cut back to a leaf or bud, simply break the stalk just below the head. This encourages a much faster repeat flower.
Whilst you’re in the borders, tidy up and cut down any early perennials that have finished and rake out any leaves (we shouldn’t have to clear leaves this early but our borders are full of them!)
Other jobs to do this week:
- Trim back lavender once its finished flowering. This will maintain and control its shape for next year. Depending on the age of your lavender you can cut back reasonably hard just be careful not to cut into any old wood, as it won’t flower from old wood. Lavenders aren’t a long living shrub so if yours has gotten old and completely out of shape, consider replanting with fresh young plants.
- All topiary, conifer and evergreen hedges can be trimmed back to maintain their shape, either with hand shears or a power hedge trimmer.
- Give your Wisteria its summer prune by shortening all sideshoots back to 5 or 6 buds.
- Take rosemary cuttings to expand your herb garden.