Give climbers the big chop

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MANY climbing plants in your garden will possibly be getting completely out of hand.

How do you deal with them and when is the best time to deal with this rampant growth?

Time to start summer pruning wisteria.
Time to start summer pruning wisteria.
Wisteria is possibly one of the fastest climbers and now, in summer, is the time to prune. On each long trailing stem counting from where it joins on to main stems count three leaf joints and chop.

Do this all over the vine. You will also need to do this again in winter to a lesser degree. This will reward you with more stems and flowers next spring.

ASTERS, commonly known as Michaelmas daisies, are a long-lasting autumn perennial.

Some weeks ago I suggested reducing the growth of these and chrysanthemums by two thirds, even if flower buds were showing. This encourages more stems and more flowers. Believe it or not, it is again time to do some more cutting back. This time cut only about one third off and, yes, you will be cutting off lots of flower buds.

But fear not, in autumn this will result in a stunning, long-lasting display. Plus, when they have finished flowering – like all perennials – in winter you can simply dig up the clump and divide it to give you dozens of extra plants.

FAST becoming one of the all-time favourites for autumn flowers is Sedum “Autumn Joy” with its large fleshy leaves and big heads of pink flowers resembling broccoli. How can one have an autumn garden without chrysanthemums? As we all know, this is the traditional flower for Mother’s Day. If I had several garden pages in “CityNews”, I could bring you pictures of all these to brighten your day.

All my garden pages are online, so you can back track to previous editions by simply going to and click on “home and garden”.

SOME folk positively dislike Anemone hupehensis or Japanese wind flowers, only because they multiply too fast. Once I was severely reprimanded by a reader, suggesting I had made an error in recommending this plant and expecting a correction the following week! Isn’t that what we expect of plants? If you have too many simply thin them out. For the back of the garden bed there is no flower more showy with both pink and white blooms.

Bulb catalogues will be arriving soon.
Bulb catalogues will be arriving soon.
WITH just a month to autumn, the bulb catalogues will be arriving from mail-order houses and there will be special offers in garden magazines. While I am sure mail-order plants and bulbs are of good quality, I still recommend buying from your local garden centres.

Most local garden centres have been around for a long time, surviving economic recession to drought, answering gardeners’ problems, from pests to failed plants. Buying on line means you have no idea of the quality of plants or even if they survive the mail etcetera.

Bulbs are graded according to size and quality; how do you know the quality compared with visiting your local garden centre to be able to pick out the biggest and healthiest bulbs for a floral show for many years to come? My message is, support your local business and they will support you.

Keep bird baths full.
Keep bird baths full.
WHICH bird can sing all day from early morning to dusk with a beautiful melodious song and never repeat a tune? The blackbird.

Then why do I receive emails asking how to get rid of these songsters? Its only crime is spreading mulch on to paths when looking for worms and other insects. Please no emails this year about getting rid of one of our favourite birds in the garden, thank you!


  • Please keep both a bird bath and a large plant saucer at ground level full. The latter for geckos and blue tongue lizards.
  • Do not overwater tomatoes every time you see the leaves wilt or you will end up with watery, tasteless toms.
  • Cut helleborus leaves back to ground level. This allows for better development of flowers next winter.
  • Spent hydrangea flowers can be trimmed, using dried flower heads for floral decoration.
  • Deep water citrus trees out at the drip line, not by the trunk.
  • For small trees, make an earthen bank round the tree or shrub to hold at least three buckets of water at the one time, depending on the size of the plant.

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Cedric Bryant
Trained horticulturist and garden designer with over 30 years experience in the industry.

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