Exiles Forum

Lisburn, Co. Antrim, Northern Ireland




Keep an eye on dead, flowers

KEEP an eye on dead flowers now, as the time to prune a bush is generally after flowered. Shrubs like, Deutiza, Exochorda, and some Spirea do well when cut back lightly after flowering, to mange the scrub to produce good flowers next year and keep a good shape.

Cut away old wood that has already flowered to the first strong new shoot.

Forsythia and Kerria ('Batchelor's Buttons') can have a quarter of their old shoots cut right back to ground level to maintain vigour.

Hedges may be trimmed now, but watch out for those little birds' nests! It's kinder and environmentally better to wait until the little birds have flown the nest. A hedge can look good with the tops tapered in very slightly, and this looks good with a small leafed plant like Privet or Loniceera nitida. However if your hedge is only 4-5 years old don't bother pruning the top.

If you are looking to take cuttings and have a go at reducing your expenditure at the Garden Centre, here's some crash saving ideas.

From softwood cuttings you can  make your own hedge from Buxus (Box), Cornus  (Dogwood), Ligustrum (Privet), Ribes (Flowering currant), Viburnum, and Euonymus. Other relatively easy plants to propagate include Weigela Cotoneaster, and Lavandula - (Lavender). To do this, choose a shoot about 4 inches long; just below a leaf node. Remove the bottom leaves & dip into hormone rooting powder.

The powder contains fungicide, which is useful. Choose some biodegradable pots, i.e. Erin, and fill with peat. Form a hole in this, and plant the cutting 1 1/2 inch deep. The good thing about using Erin pots is the roots don't get disturbed when being transplanted. Wait until the cutting has 'taken' something you can see from emerging new leaves. Then plant out in position, taking care to water and feed the emerging plant well all Summer..... and bingo, a new plant for nothing.

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