You think you are on top of the gardening work
and can relax in the deck chair with a cool
glass of something. Well you can’t.
You may be on top of the weeds (for the time
being) and the lawn has never looked better
but there are other essential gardening chores
that should not be left undone.
For some plants summer pruning is essential.
Plum trees and fruiting cherries along with
the ornamental flowering varieties must be pruned
in summer rather than during the traditional
winter period. In July there is less risk of
silver lead disease entering through the open
cuts made when pruning. This is a killer disease
that also attacks damsons.
Then there is all the regular pruning of the
summer flowering shrubs such as Bride’s
blossom(philadelphus), weigela and deutzia.
These are pruned as soon as the flowers fade
removing the flowering stems back to within
a few inches of the previous year’s growth.
Dead heading to remove spent flowers is essential
for the good of the plant and a succession of
flowers. As rose flowers fade they are cut off
by shortening the stem back by 2-3 leaves. The
exception is for shrub roses where they are
grown for their ornamental hips that follow
the flowers. Rosa moyesii ‘Garanium’
with its beautiful flagon-shaped, bright red
hips is a good example.
Sweet peas flowers need to be constantly cut
for use in the house where their scent fills
the room. If flowers are left on the plants
to wither then they must be dead headed before
seed pods appear. If not then the plant will
put its energy into forming seed at the expense
of further flower production.
If you don’t want an invasion of weed-like
seedlings then remove the seed heads of verbascum
( mullein) and foxglove before they scatter
their seeds far and wide.
Suckers can be a big problem in the summer and
I’m not referring to those working in
the garden! Plants that have been grafted such
as roses, fruit and ornamental trees tend to
produce growths from the rootstock and these
must be removed as they are stronger growing
than the variety. Wherever possible pull them
off. If they are cut and a stump remains it
will probably re-grow.