The Sunday Gardener's Blog

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  1. Late February and early March is the best time for Pruning Clematis to ensure it produces lovely flowers year after year. Clematis prune can seem a bit complicated, but not really. Group 1 Clematis do not prune at all, and group 1 flower early in the year. Group 2 is a light prune, and Group 3 a hard prune. To check which you have there is detailed information on the Clematis pages to help identify the group to which a clematis belongs if you have no labels or information.  If all fails and you have no idea, Group 2 usually flower in mid summer and Group 3 later in summer which is not true of every type of clematis but it can be the best guess. 

    All the books and magazines say "prune to an axial bud" so to know what to look for are two images below. At this time of year on some Clematis the axial bud will be easy to spot, as in the first image, on others is can be quite small and you need to look carefully. 


    There are also videos to help you identify your clematis and to which group it below on the Sunday Gardener You Tube channel.

    clematis large axil bud clematis small axil bud

     

  2. strawberries before cutting back

    Do your strawberries look like this?

    The image left shows strawberries before they have been cut back. Ideally, strawberries should be cut back in late summer, afterfruiting and once any runners have been removed or potted on to make new plants.

    Not everything in gardening goes to plan and I didn't get round to cutting back the strawberries until February. It still has to be done, as you do not want to start the growing season with lots of dead leaves which will only lead to problems and an inducement to Botrytis, Grey Mold.

    If you live in the south with lots of sun, or the east with low rain fall, Botrytis is less of a problem but anywhere tending on the wet side is higher risk and it is one disease strawberries are prone to.

    Start the season with clean-cut plants which allows plenty of light and air circulation.  More tips on growing strawberries. 

    strawberries after cutting back

     

  3. Helleborus--orientalis-double-310 Hellebores-lovely-310-x-240 hellebore-dark-mauve-310-x-240

    Hellebores are undoubtably one of the most beautiful perennials flowering from December through to spring. They are so welcome in the cold winter days boldly flowering even when covered with snow and all is frozen. They really are irresistible and an easy to grow Perennial which flowers reliably each year. In addition, Hellebores happily self seed and can easily be divided to have more plants for free. Hellebores do not need staking, or pruning or even feeding. Plant in the right place and Hellebores will look after themselves, with just one annual requirement.

    Hellebores do tend to suffer from black spot which is best treated by removing the leaves in December/January which has the added benefit of displaying the flowers nicely. For more information  about where and when to plant Hellebores, preferred growing conditions, treating Hellebore black spot and a comprehensive guide to Hellebores.

     

  4. Harlow Carr Glow Boxing Hares 310 Harlow Carr starry trees 310

    Harlow Carr looking spectacular with the garden illuminated;  a blaze of colour for Christmas. The path along side the lake is full of illuminations in the trees, and the stream appears ethereal with the different lights and takes on an ultra violet glow. Unfortunately, just too tricky for me to capture as my night photography and camera are just not up to it, but I managed a few passable images, and there are also a couple of photos kindly supplied by RHS, all of which give some idea as to how the garden looks.

    As soon as it turns dusk the lights will illuminate the garden. I was really impressed how lovely the garden looked, and I think it would be great for little ones as well. The show starts today23 November and is on until 30.12, three evenings per week Thursday, Friday and Saturday, and during which time Betty's tea room is open late, an added treat. There is more information on the RHS Harlow Carr web site along with other Christmas events and this is definately worth a visit.

    Harlow Carr Glow coloured grasses Harlow Carrs Main Borders Glow
    Harlow Carr Glow trees ablaze. Harlow Carr Glowing trees