At this time of the year the excessive growth on all our bushes, shrubs and especially the climbing plants must surely encourage one to get the secateurs out and start snipping. It is not exactly time for pruning yet but simply to be able to walk around the garden without getting entangled in with all the new summers growth will do no harm to any plant even if it is still in full bloom.
Some climbing plants like Wisteria will be long past flowering but making yards long growth that windes its way up any other stem that will help it climb. Now there are Wisteria hedges that I have seen that are never cut back and simply look a picture in all their glory of full flower but if you are trying to train one up and over a pergola or along a wall then its best to keep it in trim and easier to cut back green wood than hard-wood, encourage it to grow where you want it to grow so that it will produce that wonderful hanging curtain of flowers in the spring.
I have mentioned Bougainvillea quite frequently, this shrub really needs keeping ‘in-hand’, but not exactly pruned back to the trunk just yet. There are some varieties that are still producing their colourful bracts as well as growing really long stems of green leaves. These can be cut back, even if they are not producing any colour, it’s just a matter of keeping the plant tidy. Every one of those coloured bracts will fall as in ‘falling leaves’ so from now on it will be a constant sweeping up as well as cutting back.
Bignonia is yet another all invasive climbing plant that seems to pop up just anywhere without even planting it. Keep pulling up any new growth you may not want before the roots grow too deeply into the garden, cutting back just seems to encourage it to thicken out even more but it’s wonderful bunches of hanging pink flowers, even if they are from the top of the next door neighbours hedge are really beautiful to see and are still in full flower now frequently with masses of buds yet to open.
I mention some of this cutting back and thinning out now because our autumn and then winter winds are sometimes extremely strong and gusty, doing untold damage to trees and shrubs breaking off branches in all the wrong places, even blowing or up-rooting the whole tree. This of course leads us on to the subject of young trees that really will need some help to avoid ‘wind rock’ especially young fruit trees.
I know I mentioned this just a few weeks ago but that is what gardening is, constant repeating of some of the same chores.
Roses certainly need encouraging to produce another flush of late flowering, a gentle snip here and there to cut out dead wood and dead-heading the flowers will surely encourage the shrub to keep flowering until Christmas time.
More about Roses when the time comes.
October really is ‘bulb’ time. There are some like the Amaryllis and Tulips that we think of as coming from another climate and needing just that little help along the way. We think of Holland for Tulips and who knows where the Amaryllis does best even though its origins are South America?
Holland is cold so there are those who consider a cold spell best for bulbs before planting so pop them in the fridge for a week or two just before planting, just be sure not to mistake them for an onion and chop them up for a stew!
Any bulb here will do just as well in a pot on the terrace to be able to be moved indoors or planted out in the garden where it will flower happily when it’s time comes around. There will of course be those bulbs that were left in the garden after last seasons flowering, Jonquils, Snowdrops, Freesias and the like.
A little fresh top soil won’t go amiss if you remember where they are planted, pulling the weeds by hand not to unsettle the bulb that may well be starting to grow its roots but not yet showing green leaves above ground.
As some of these bulbs grow in the wild here on the island then they will surely do well in the garden or in a pot on the terrace..