08 Aug 2013

Tidying Your Summer Garden

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So, I was in my garden yesterday evening looking at the now finished flower stalks on my Crocosmia and my eyes wandered around perusing the many other summer flowering plants that are enjoying their final swansong.  Many people do not know the “ins and outs” of appropriate timing for tidying, dead heading, and pruning in the summer, so I am going to try and simplify it. Anything that has finished flowering for the season {perennials, shrubs, and even trees} can be pruned back right now.  Simply checking where to prune for deadheading the base of the flower stalk is enough, but if you want to encourage bushy new growth then some things can be cut back aggressively and others a little lighter. For instance, hedges will thicken if pruned now and will go into the new season with  healthy young new growth.  This may require a second cut in the dormant season to tidy up.  The general rule is to prune back after flowering to encourage new flower buds for the next season.  In some cases, annuals and perennials will encourage new growth this season.  Geraniums, potentillas, and Crocosmia may experience a second flush but remember to prune them back after flowering.

But, “what about the foliage,” you may ask?  It does plants no real harm to trim back their foliage now and indeed can create more room for new growth.  New late season plants also enjoy the space and flourish.  Dahlias, Asters, and Hydrangeas are all looking to become the next promement feature in the garden, so, by all means, give them space.

Have a lovely week,

Derek

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