Six on Saturday: Snip Snip Snip

There has been a lot of snipping going on around here recently, with cutting back, down or out beginning in the borders during the week but,ย  more excitingly, our neighbours on the hedge side had workers in the garden today working on the hedge. When the Golfer began cutting our side some weeks ago they told him of their plans, which involved reducing the height of the hedge by about 18″, sometime ‘in October’. In many places the hedge is just too wide for the Golfer to reduce it himself, so this was welcome news, especially as for many years there has been little in the way of maintenance on their side. October was fast disappearing so we were relieved when their workers turned up today.

It has made such a difference, especially to light levels in part of our kitchen, and our old friend the Rambling Rector (above) has had a bit of a makeover too as much of the deadwood reaching into their garden has been cut out. It also meant that the remaining stems that couldn’t be accessed and tied into the rose arbour when the rose was cut back after flowering could now be pulled down to join the rest, facilitated by the scaffolding, and further deadwood cut out.

While the Golfer communed with the Rector, I took Madame Alfred Carriere, clambering above the bus shelter, in hand. I usually cut her back quite severely at this time of year and she always seems to reward me with her blooms, but having watched Monty Don prune his on Gardeners’ World on television last night I decided I could be more severe still…and know who to blame if this proves to be a mistake, which is unlikely!

Even though there was some residual colour in the ‘rainbow border’, I wanted to ensure the bed was ready for the appearance of the snowdrops in the winter months, so removed the summer annuals earlier in the week, leaving the border looking very empty after more than five months of colour:

Removing what was essentially ground cover exposed not only residual snippets of holly from the Golfer’s recent hedge cutting, previously hidden amongst the foliage, but also some tatty hellebore leaves and a number of pots of snowdrops which have pushed themseves above soil level and will need to be repositioned. The hellebore foliage will be trimmed in a few weeks time, a task which I now see the benefit of, as it allows the blooms to be viewed clearly, as well as reducing disease.

Talking about snowdrops, whch we increasingly will do in the coming months, I checked on the progress of some of my early flowering ones and – whohoo! – we have visible (but, sadly, out of focus) progress, from Foursome (left) and Cambridge (right)…

Not all annuals are being taken out yet, and these Busy Lizzies will carry on being busy until temperatures really drop – what a star plant, and how I missed them when they were not available due to mildew intolerance! Meanwhile, another job for the Golfer is replacing the seat of the rustic bench behind them, which has outlived its useful life.

Finally, cut back earlier in the year when they were severely affected by aphids, these two pots of greenhouse fantasy chrysanthemums have just been moved back under cover again today, where they will no doubt be revisited by the aphids’ progeny, but at least they are not as tall and lanky as they were the previous year…and there are some blooms on the way to grace a few vases in due course:

That’s my snippy six for Jon the Propagator’s Six on Saturday meme – why don’t you visit hs blog too and see what other bloggers are featuring today?

This entry was posted in annuals, container & basket plants, cutting beds, Gardening, Gardens, pruning, Six on Saturday. Bookmark the permalink.

30 Responses to Six on Saturday: Snip Snip Snip

  1. Heyjude says:

    Impatiens are such good doers for a shady spot. Mine have been flowering for months and I hope will continue for a while yet. I also watched Monty pruning his climber and will have a go at trying to get mine into a better shape.

    • Cathy says:

      The ones in this pot are Aldi ones, and in such pretty shades. I usually buy a 32 pack of teeny plugs but they are brighter with more coral and this year haven’t done as well, so I might risk just waiting for Aldi’s ones next year, which were available over several weeks. Unless we have a wall like Monty’s I don’t suppose our roses will ever be as well-trained, and my Mme AC is allowed to sprawl with minimal restraints

      • Heyjude says:

        I’m giving up with plugs online, they have been very disappointing this year. A local nursery grow their own so I will use them. I bought sweet peas from them this year which were strong, healthy plants and cheap too.

        • Cathy says:

          We have Brookside Nursery near us which is mail order but available to pick up from too – and you can choose the week for your collection/delivery, which is such an advantage. I also ‘rediscovered’ a chap who imports from Holland and sells from a garage and at local markets, excellent quality and prices that I may use more than Brookside in future

  2. smallsunnygarden says:

    It’s wonderful you’ll have that bit of extra sun coming in–can make such a difference. I’ll be interested in your experiment with pruning Madame Alfred Carriere as I’m planning on growing at least one of the old Tea-Noisettes here, and I’m not familiar with pruning practices for them. Given the prospective size, I think I’m a bit intimidated!
    Also, of course, I’m looking forward to your snowdrop season, as always!

    • Cathy says:

      When we built the extension we kept the windows in keeping with the front of the house, but sometimes I wonder if that was a mistake, and perhaps they should have been bigger! I have always found climbing roses easier to prune, as it is literally more clear cut! Mme AC is a VERY tall rose!

  3. You’ve been busy! Wow, I can’t believe you have snowdrops emerging already. Please do share the results of your clippings and adjustments during the next growing season. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Cathy says:

      Yes, it was good to have the time to do it, as I have been so busy recently! These snowdrops are a different species of galanthus from those we see appearing from about Christmas onwards

  4. tonytomeo says:

    Although I would have pruned the rose back more severely, I would have done so later in winter, after defoliation. Winter comes later here, and ends sooner, so there is less time to prune roses. If they still have leaves on them here, they are likely still active.

    • Cathy says:

      And we get blackspot in the UK, so it helps to prune these while they still have the foliage. I then remove leaves from my shrub roses but won’t prune them till Jan/Feb

      • tonytomeo says:

        Are they pruned with their foliage because it is easier than raking the foliage out of the plant material below? My roses were in a separate rose garden, with nothing below them. It was easy to rake the debris away. I do not like roses in the landscape. From their own rose garden, I do not mind cutting their flowers. In the garden, with other flowers, I would want to leave roses to bloom.

        • Cathy says:

          Not sure how many amateur gardeners would actually rake the leaves away, Tony, although we would be adviised to do so particularly to reduce the risk of blackspot infections

  5. janesmudgeegarden says:

    It seems only yesterday since UK bloggers were talking about snowdrops and now itโ€™s only a couple of months before they make another appearance. Do you keep them in pots which are then buried in the ground? What is the reason for that? Having so much of the hedge tidied will make a welcome difference to your garden.

    • Cathy says:

      The seasons keep on rolling round, don’t they, regardless of anything else!! I used to always keep my snowdrops in pots sunk in the ground, so that I would not disturb them. I have now liberated those that are well established, but will still keep newer ones in pots till they bulk up

      • janesmudgeegarden says:

        Itโ€™s a good idea. I planted some, but managed to then plant a lily on top of them (something that happens quite often with bulbs in my garden) and perhaps they might have fared better if Iโ€™d adopted your idea.

  6. Pauline says:

    It is always good to have hedges given a good prune, my present gardener doesn’t do the tops of my hedges which is very annoying, they are getting too tall, he will have to go! I was surprised to see that your snowdrops are in pots and also have summer bedding on top of them, I keep everything else well away from my precious bulbs which are allowed to spread at will in the soil!

    • Cathy says:

      When we were first here we used to think we wanted the hedge just to grow naturally, not realising that it would just keep on growing upwards and outwards!! I know it will be more of a stretch, but surely if you ask your gardener to cut the top, he should do so? The snowdrop border is very visible from the house and would look very empty in summer with nothing else. Until this year I have just had low growing bedding plants over the summer, and this is the first year I have trialled annuals this way. I just need to be careful whn I take them out as I have liberated all my more established snowdrops in the last couple of years, just leaving the newer ones in deep ‘snowdrop pots’ until they bulk up. The annuals seemed to have worked, and I now just have to wait and see if the majority of the snowdrops return safely. I also planted out a few ‘spares’ in the woodland last winter so will be very interested to see how they do.

  7. Wow Cathy, you’ve been so industrious and what a difference all this clear and pruning is making. That arbour is far too sweet to be called a bus shelter btw. It will be interesting to see what difference your hard reduction to Madam Alfred Carriere makes. I eyed up busy lizzies this year (as I used to love them), but in the end gave them a miss. After seeing some lovely examples, including yours, I’m in next year though!

    • Cathy says:

      The arbour is made from an Edwardian porch surround with and ballustrades from a salvage yard, with matching uprights made by the Golfer. He made the roof from waney edge fence boards, which is why a neighbour referred to it as a bus shelter and for us the name stuck! I certainly cut back more of the side shoots than I might previously have done, and will do the same on my other climbers too

  8. Chloris says:

    It is so satisfying at this time of the year to give everything a short back and sides. I am much more ruthless than I used to be. Lovely to see your early snowdrops, I must go and check mine.

    • Cathy says:

      Indeed it is. My climbing roses have tended to become a bit twiggy, so I am adopting a severer cut on all of them this year. It’s probably seeing your early snowdrops that prompts me to check mine, although admittedly last year was the first time I had anything worth checking – and most just produced leaves and no flowers. The slugs and snails have taken an interest already though this year… ๐Ÿ™„ I am sure you will have some surprises too when you check yours

  9. Paddy Tobin says:

    We have been watching the early snowdrops here also – ‘Cambridge’ is out, as is ‘Tilebarn Jamie’ and a few others of the reginae olgae clan. The year is starting again.

  10. Noelle M says:

    With the big hedge clearout, the improved light you described is going to be such a boom for that part of the garden. Well done on getting the rose prunning done. I’ve not watched Gardner’s World for a few weeks: you’ve reminded me to catch up and get some tips for work in the garden.

  11. Anna says:

    Hurrah for next door’s pruning resulting in more light for you Cathy ๐Ÿ˜‚ I have been busy snipping this afternoon, after a wet morning so that I could get in as much as possible into the garden waste bin before it’s emptied tomorrow. Lovely to see your snowdrop snouts. I don’t have any of the really early ones but was most excited to see the tips of ‘The Pearl’ and ‘Fenstead End’ poking through in their pots this afternoon.

    • Cathy says:

      We have had a mostly mizzly day here too so I have been potting up bulbs for the Coop and feel very virtuous to have got them done! Will check out the snowdrops you gave me which are potted too but not in the ground. I know last year many in the main border here were showig themselves relatively early – although we are still in October… I applaud the relationship you have with your green bin, Anna, which is of course very similar to mine! ๐Ÿ˜

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