Hartley Magazine

All the latest news, hints, tips and advice from our experts

Plants ‘regularly need to be cut back’

With fall fast approaching, it is vital that green-fingered enthusiasts do not allow their garden activities to pile up, as many plants will be requiring close care throughout late summer.

In an article for the UK national newspaper the Daily Telegraph, professional gardener and writer Helen Yemm suggested that a significant amount of varieties will need cutting back in order to keep them in shape.

"Cistus purpureus and Cistus corbariensis can both be pruned back substantially now – but not into old wood," she commented adding that it is strongly advisable to "be much more cautious with others, particularly the larger varieties".

Both of these flowers come from the Cistus genus, which takes its name from the Greek word Kistos – which translates as rockrose. Indeed, Cistaceae is the parent family – although this genus comprises 20 individual different types of plant.

They are perennial shrubs that are found in dry or rocky areas. They originally come from the Mediterranean region – including Morocco and Portugal all the way through to the Middle East and also on the Canary Islands.

These factors combine to make them a popular choice for gardeners – particularly as they are defined by showy 5-petaled flowers, which can range from white to purple and dark pink. A few species also feature a conspicuous dark red spot at the base of each petal.

Ms Yemm also recommended taking action to carefully cut back hydrangeas.

"Prune a few older flowered stems of climbing hydrangea that cantilever out too far from walls," she commented, adding that a pair of new buds should be the only parts left.

"Be selective – bear in mind that fat shoot tips already indicate which shoots will carry next year's flowers and hard pruning all over will result in few flowers," the expert continued.

Indeed, hydrangeas are nearing the end of their typical annual life cycle at this time of year, as their flowers are usually only produced from early spring to late autumn. This means that it is now more important than ever to ensure that they are in fine shape so as to give them a better chance of surviving the colder winter climate.

This consideration even needs to be taken into account for those who maintain the plants in a greenhouse.

Ms Yemm also suggested people "shake old foxglove stems in a shady corner where their tiny seeds can germinate undisturbed" – noting that the seedlings can be moved into permanent positions later on.