Gardening / Go light on hedge trimming

Clear fallen leaves from the tops of hedges… wet leaves can be heavy and cause severe damage, especially to small-leafed hedges.

IF you haven’t completed trimming hedges by now, I recommend leaving any heavy trimming until October.

Usually, I suggest all trimming of evergreen shrubs and hedges is completed by Easter. That, of course, varies from year to year.

Cedric Bryant.

However, mild autumns mean considerable new growth and a light trim would still be in order before a good frost burns it off.

On the subject of hedges, a reminder to remove falling leaves from the top of the hedge. Wet leaves can be quite heavy and cause severe damage, especially to the small-leafed variety such as Buxus or box hedging.

Plant outdoor potted roses anytime… they have the advantage of an extra year’s growth and thicker, healthier stems.

IT’S time for my annual reminder about buying rose bushes. They are likely to be for sale in supermarkets any time now. However, you will not see new stocks of roses in garden centres until between mid June and July.

Most wholesale rose growers only lift their roses when they have naturally gone into dormancy. The supermarkets try to beat the garden centres by persuading some growers to artificially force the roses into early dormancy by spraying with a defoliant. The roses then have peat moss or similar wrapped round the roots and packed in plastic bags.

They are offered for sale in supermarkets with artificial light and warm air conditioning. Under such conditions new shoots soon start appearing and, once planted out in the garden, the first frost will burn off any new growth. Most garden centres pot up roses on arrival from the growers and offer them for sale standing outdoors and in natural daylight.

To keep the selling price to a minimum some supermarkets will buy one year-old roses with the stems hardly the thickness of a pencil.

With a heavy frost, the sap freezes in the thin stems; once again, the end of the rose. Always look for roses with stems at least as thick as your little finger.

Finally on roses, some garden centres will have potted roses for sale from last year’s arrivals. There’s nothing wrong with them plus they have the advantage of an extra year’s growth and thicker, healthier stems. They can be planted any time.  

WHEN buying pots, make sure there are holes in the bottoms. I notice many pots for sale in the DIY stores have the saucers attached to the pots and they’ve all been fired in one piece in the kiln. These pots may be suitable for artificial flowers but sudden death for living plants, which will quickly develop root rot and die.

Jottings…

  • The new Gallery of Gardens at the Arboretum is now open to the public.
  • Now’s the last chance to plant spring-flowering bulbs, especially tulips and Dutch iris in the next couple of weeks.
  • Early mornings are an ideal time to visit the top of Mount Ainslie to watch the sunrise and the kaleidoscope of autumn leaf colours as the mist rises from the lake… pure magic.

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