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16 October 2014
Gardener's Corner

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Winter 2009
 
John Cushnie On...
 

Busy Month in the Garden
8 July 2008

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.


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