|Diary of a Plantaholic|
|by Sue Baines|
|Thursday, 31 May 2012 19:03|
I guess every gardening year is a challenge, as no two seasons are ever the same, and that certainly applies this year. Copious amounts of rain have brought the garden to life dramatically. Everything is lush, and floppy. Luckily I had started to support plants during the warmer, drier, spells in March, never dreaming we would have so much rain. These supports are home-made of chicken wire, taken off a reel. We have made them small, medium and large with a diameter of two feet, but they could be cut to any size you like. They are a bit fiddly to make and with the canes (plus caps) are visible for several months. On the plus side they don't seem to deteriorate, are very effective, and (long-term), cheap.
With the Chelsea Flower Show comes the reminder of the 'Chelsea Chop'. In gardening, timing is everything, and late May is the ideal time, so that is the reason for its name. It is the time for me to cut back part of my established clumps, which is successful with Phlox and Campanula, taking about half the stems down to half size and doing it sympathetically to leave it looking as natural as possible.
The original stems will flower at the same time as usual, but the cut back ones will be delayed, coming out as the first are over (hopefully). Border sedums are slightly different, although the timing is the same. Cut them all in half, poking the cut pieces in next to the main clump. They will grow more sturdily, but should flower OK as long as I do it as soon as possible.