Six on Saturday: Still Busy

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.

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18 Responses to Six on Saturday: Still Busy

  1. The Wisteria turned out well, what a job! I try to avoid vines nowadays though I am cursed with Allamanda I intend to train this fall. I bought Dwarf Sweetpeas seeds, will be interested to hear how yours fare from the chop…

  2. tonytomeo says:

    As a native of the Santa Clara Valley, I am very proficient with pruning; but totally LOATHE pruning wisteria. They always bloom well; but I always think that they would have bloomed better if I had pruned them differently.

    • Cathy says:

      If they bloom well as it is Tony, they are clearly fine – and I am sure you have plenty of other horticultural tasks to do!

      • tonytomeo says:

        Yes, I have plenty to do; but it would be nice to know how to prune wisteria as well as I prune fruit trees, and show off to my colleagues. One of my colleagues wants to plant a wisteria in an unwanted thicket of riparian trees, and let it grow wild! There are at least two such ‘groves’ nearby. They are spectacular; . . . but not exactly horticulturally correct. I really do not want it to escape into the wild, although the wild colonies have been like that since the 1960s, and have not gone far.

  3. Noelle M says:

    Whatever the weather….she will garden! Good on the golfer, it does look smart after a good brushing.

    • Cathy says:

      Not strictly true, Noelle, but there will always be some tasks I have set my mind on doing that will continue despite the weather!

  4. It is always busy in your garden Cathy! The Golfer did a great sweep up. The sweetpeas have been pulled out here. Powdery mildew. Wisteria are tough once established and yours must be so pretty against the pink walls

    • Cathy says:

      Although I suppose I wouldn’t write a post if I had not got some garden related activity to write about!! I think my sweet peas must have had powdery mildew too – thanks for prompting me about that. I realised that I will have had the wsteria 20 years now, so it is pretty well established although didn’t flower well this year at all which is a rarity…

  5. I had a wisteria at my previous home, and there was always loads to but back. I don’t think any other plant grows as much as a wisteria. Well done with your blackberries and raspberries. That will keep you going for a while.

    • Cathy says:

      I should have done a ‘before’ picture, shouldn’t I, although you know yourself how much growth there must have been… Most of the soft fruits go on my breakfast, and I am just coming to the end of last year’s although I do periodically ring the changes with a banana or other fruit

  6. Cathy says:

    Those blackberries look lovely and juicy. Any special plans for them? Interesting to hear the chelsea chop works for sedum. I might try it with my one of my tall Euphorbias next year to see what happens. The garden looks very good – spick and span – after the sweeping up and pruning. πŸ˜ƒ

    • Cathy says:

      The blackberries are in the freezer and will be used on my breakfast over the next year, Cathy. It always amazes me how much difference a tidy path makes!

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