Gardening Magazine

Pruning

By Notcuttsuk @notcuttsuk

After a sharp frost the other morning, which was accompanied by a strong easterly wind, some of the usually hardy evergreens in our garden have suffered damage to their soft growth. The tops of the Abelia and Phlomis (Jerusalem Sage) have curled up and the leaves have begun to go brown. They will eventually drop off as the new growth appears. I will prune these plants towards the end of the month if the weather looks like warming up, but for now the damaged growth will still give good protection so it can stay on.

My white Clematis montana ‘Grandiflora’ is starting to come into leaf now and the flower buds are already visible on the bare wood, waiting to come out in May. Some of the twiggy growths were broken in the gales, so I have already pruned these off to tidy the plant. Usually, I would not touch this Clematis until after it has flowered because I would be removing the flower buds!

The white Buddleja at the back of one of our borders grew enormously last year with all of the humid, wet weather and I pruned it back by half in the autumn to prevent it being rocked around by gales through the winter. Along with our bush roses, it has been pruned again to healthy leaves. Some of the old woody growth has been pruned out completely and vigorous shoots are already coming up from the cuts to replace them! The sweetly scented flower spikes were enormous and covered in Red Admiral, Small Tortoiseshell and Peacock butterflies last summer, so I am hoping for even more flowers and some different butterfly species to enjoy them!

Unfortunately, our Cornus alba ‘Aurea’ (Dog Wood) has been crowded by a large evergreen Cotoneaster and has grown out of shape, towards the light. I have pruned it back to within a few inches of the ground, sacrificing the golden glow of the new leaves but hoping for some strong growth this summer and bright stems for next winter. I was pleased to see that one of my favorite Day Lilies is still alive beneath it and should flower this summer now that it too has some more light!

I also have a Hydrangea paniculata in the garden which needs to be pruned hard in the same way as it flowers late in the summer on the current year’s growth. This plant is growing in a partly shaded bed but the soil is quite dry, so once I have pruned it back I will add some of my homemade mulch to encourage strong growth and plenty of creamy white flowers later in the year.

Although I try to compost as much as I can, I always end up making a trip to the local green skip, after a major tidy up in the garden. Too much woody material upsets the balance of my heaps and takes longer to rot down. Perhaps we should invest in a shredder?

Happy Gardening!

Mr McGregor


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