Despite the high winds yesterday, I still managed to accomplish one of the tasks that mark the seasons – summer pruning the wisteria. This involved an ordinary step ladder for the lower stems, the scaffolding for the bulk of the rest, and a few minutes on an extendable ladder to reach the apex. The generally accepted advice is to cut back the stems to five or six buds, but admittedly I don’t now count them and I know some people just take a hedge trimmer to theirs. At one time I used to prune mine on roughly the shortest and longest days, but they make such a lot of growth after June that it made sense to defer it, but I will still cut off any wispy bits that impede passage before then.
I am always amazed at how much growth is made each year – below shows prunings just from the section down the side of the house, where only a single stem is trained, with the completed job below that:
Today I decided almost on a whim to cut down the sweet peas which have suffered from a combination of heat, lack of rain and not being picked frequently enough; despite following Monty’s suggestion that you cut off all blooms once a week to prolong flowering, they were now producing virtually none at all and the stems were verging on crispness. This year, for the first time, I have made a later sowing as well so took down just half of the supports and planted out this second batch but have no idea how well they will do – and if there is any chance they will get to flowering stage before the first frosts. Next year I must try harder to eliminate the ‘lean’ in these supports…
Recent showery days has meant pausing the picking of blackberries, unfortunate because the last time they were inspected berries were falling off because they were so ripe; however, it was dry today and I was able to pick another 1lb 9oz, bringing the total so far this year to 10lb 6oz, virtually all from one plant (Loch Ness, I think) – the best year ever, as is the case also with raspberries, with over 18lbs of them tucked away in the freezer and more to come on the autumn fruiting canes. All this with minimal input from the gardener!
Way back at the beginning of June I took the plunge and ‘Chelsea chopped’ the sedum and some other perennials for the first time, and have now convinced myself it is worth doing, even if the plants do look ugly for a little while. The sedum are noticeably less lanky and their new growth has been daintier, whereas the phlox that I had forgotten had been chopped until I reread that June post is currently flowering profusely in a very neat and orderly fashion. The honeysuckle that was hacked right back is producing new shoots too. Definitely a win-win scenario, and I shall just have to avert my gaze from the ugliness when I cut them back!
Having hung up his lumberjack hat, the Golfer was in danger of having to sit and twiddle his thumbs, so I suggested he sweep the paths and – My Goodness! – what an instant transformation such a simple task always makes:
That’s my six for today, so buzz off now to Jon the Propagator’s blog to see his six and those of other bloggers around the world.