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Dead heading and summer pruning on roses

05a8474a 812c 4520 be32 a4228822c018 9665 000006fe01c2c74f file Dead heading and summer pruning on roses

Well that’s the first and only time that I shall use the word dead heading in this blog, it’s such a negative word so let’s use a more positive one that describes the old flowers perfect, spent bloom removal, see more up lifting straight away!

05a8474a 812c 4520 be32 a4228822c018 9665 000006fe01c2c74f file Dead heading and summer pruning on roses

I have also now labelled it as part of summer pruning of roses. I prefer to do the main prune during the late winter months but doing a little bit of summer pruning can help the plant to become stronger, healthier plants.

First of all, spent bloom removal is really just needed on repeat flowering roses to encourage more flowers to appear and also open a little quicker. With once flowering roses, there’s no real need to remove the old blooms but just a cosmetic reasons

Removing the blooms is pretty easy,

with the multi headed flowering type of roses you can thin out the spent blooms as they finish or wait until the whole floret has finish and then prune back down to the first full set of leaves. Why the first set of leaves? Well can it’s just helping to plant to maximise the water and nutrients by removing a section of wood that is going to die back down to that bud anyway. It is also well worth looking at the plant and seeing where it wants to be cut, some roses are very helpful and start sending up a new shoot where it wants to regrow.

2552824e 65ca 47d5 a068 7c590287c908 9665 000006feca903af7 file Dead heading and summer pruning on roses

Removing the odd flower in the middle of a bunch of flowers

84ef0e74 c936 4fd8 87bd 55b51efc65c2 9665 000006ff607b6f9f file Dead heading and summer pruning on roses

Or taking the spent bloom down to the first full leaf

img 3036 Dead heading and summer pruning on rosesimg 3038 Dead heading and summer pruning on roses

This rose shows that perfectly and you can see I have trimmed it down to just above with new shoot.

I also tend to carry out a slightly heavier spent bloom removal or indeed summer pruning of roses that have produced stems that are to thin to hold the weight of the flowers. This is tends to happen on the once flowering roses and the English rose type and the simple way to reduce the weight on these branches, is to remove the spent bloom to a lower bud and even to thin out the branches as below. This help to lift the branches off the ground

img 3030 Dead heading and summer pruning on roses

A branch hanging over with the weight of the flowers

img 3032 Dead heading and summer pruning on roses

To help to reduce the weight I am thinning out some of the stems

img 3033 Dead heading and summer pruning on roses

And then trimming back the spent blooms a little harder

img 3035 Dead heading and summer pruning on roses

The finished branch with weight reduced

The other part of summer pruning is to remove any dead branches and any branches at the base of the plant that have simply done nothing since pruning in the winter. Yes it could be done in the winter but removing these bits of wood now again helps the plant to use the water and nutrients more efficiently. It also can improve air flow though the plant and help to reduce fungal infections img 3026 Dead heading and summer pruning on rosesimg 3025 Dead heading and summer pruning on roses

This is the type of growth I am talking about

img 3027 1 Dead heading and summer pruning on roses

The finished cleaned plant

Equipment wise I tend to use garden snips sold by Niwaki, to carry out spent bloom removal, mainly as the thinner points and lightness makes them ideal tool to use. secateurs are brilliant for the heavier form of summer pruning, I carry both using this great double holster

504a868b 1b57 455e b99d e4357d2274de 9665 000006ffed933eb5 file Dead heading and summer pruning on roses

Well I hope you enjoyed this blog on summer pruning of summer roses

 Dead heading and summer pruning on roses
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Plant of the week- Camellia x williamsii ‘J C Williams’

camellia x williamsii j c williams 2 Plant of the week  Camellia x williamsii ‘J C Williams’

camellia x williamsii j c williams Plant of the week  Camellia x williamsii ‘J C Williams’One of the sure signs of spring to me has to be the camellias opening up. I know that their are forms like C. sansanqua types, like the one I featured late last year. But those just start the Camellia season and it’s not until the main flowering groups like C.japonica, C.retectulata and of course the C.x williamsii hybrids start flowering in their droves I feel that winter is on its way out.

Camellia x williamsii are a cross between Camellia japonica and Camellia saluenensis. This hybridisation was done on purpose by the great plantsmen J C Williams and Col. Stephenson Clarke at Borde Hill Gardens. It was John Charles Williams who made the first cross in 1923 down in his great garden in Cornwall called Caerhays. The Williams family supported many plant hunting trips by some of our greatest plant hunters and some of the wonders grow quite happy in this real plantsperson garden. The magnolias are of particular note, with some of the very best cambellii trees in the uk. It was indeed at the walls of Caerhays, Camellia saluenensis flowered for the first time in the uk and was crossed soon after by J C Williams to form the Camellia x williamsii hybrids. Indeed from the first batch of seedlings, Camellia x williamsii ‘J C Williams’ was selected and named.

camellia x williamsii j c williams 3 Plant of the week  Camellia x williamsii ‘J C Williams’

Camellia x williamsii ‘J C Williams’ starts the odd flower from the end of November and it can flower right up to the end of March but I feel in February it is at its best. It’s single flowers range from light pink to a dark pink, are highlighted by the dark green foliage. Camellia x williamsii ‘J C Williams’ is also one of the best hybrids to grow on a wall, preferably one that does get a little shade. Over time Camellia x williamsii ‘J C Williams’ can make a shrub up to 5m high and 3m across but if you don’t have the space, they can be lightly pruned after flowering. If it does get too big, camellias can be reduced down to stumps if required.

Camellia x williamsii ‘J C Williams’ is like all other Camellias in the the fact it does grow best in lime free soil, ideally one that hold moisture well but is also free draining. It is effected by few pests, scale insects are the worse, they live under the leaves and drop their honeydew poo onto the leaves below, Black sooty mould then grows on this, making the plant look unsightly. It is also pretty resistant to Honey Fungus so maybe worth adding to a spot where the existing plant has been killed off by the disease.

camellia x williamsii j c williams 2 Plant of the week  Camellia x williamsii ‘J C Williams’Camellia x williamsii ‘J C Williams’ is also pretty easy to grow, a yearly feed of Vitax Q4 and a mulch of well rotted compost just after it has finished flowering would be ideal. As would watering if we get a dry spell in mid-late summer as this is when the flowering buds are formed. Camellia x williamsii ‘J C Williams’ can be easy propagated by heal cuttings in late summer. These are short lengths of newish growth, ideally a couple of years old, pulled gently off a cut branch so some of the existing branch is still there and gives it a heal. These cuttings are best given a little bit of heat in a propagator and should start to grow away before the winter months.

Camellia x williamsii ‘J C Williams’ can be seen in most large gardens that have a good Camellia collection like RHS Wisley and is quite widely sold. Burncoose of Southdown, in Cornwall are still owed by a branch of the Williams family and it’s well worth ordering one from there

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Pegging down roses

rosa magna charta1 Pegging down roses

rosa magna charta1 Pegging down roses

Rosa Magna Carta here flowering after being pegged down

Pegging down roses is a method used with some bush roses that produce large canes during the summer. These large tall canes can be pruned down in height to the same height of the bush but a far better way is to peg these long shoots down. This arched stem then produces a lot more flowers on the stem compared to just straight pruning. This happens of any rose stem that it is arched as it encourages the buds on top to break.

Not all roses that produce these large and tall canes in one growing season that come from the base of the rose, can be pegged down. Roses like Bourbons, Hybrid perpetuals, some moss roses like William Lobb, some of the English roses can work well as well. The only way to find out if your rose would be suitable for pegging down, is to grab the end and try it! Just grab the growing tip and slowly try and arch it over. If it snaps at the base or spilts, then the Rose isn’t suitable for pegging down! If it does then all well and good

img 2119 Pegging down roses

The next stage is to get the materials and equipment ready to start. I use bamboo canes (called sticks from now on to avoid confusion!) cut down to roughly 300mm but hazel will work as well. If you are in a stony site then a hammer may also be useful. Next is some 3ply green twine, I use Nutscene and lastly of course you need a pair of secateurs.

img 2121 Pegging down rosesimg 2122 Pegging down roses

Next I prepare the stick by wrapping the string on top of its self and tie it off with an over hand knot, leaving the tag at least 100mm long

img 2124 Pegging down roses

Next I tie the stick to the rose cane using an over hand knot.Then I pull the Rose cane over gently until I get the arch the right size and then push the stick into the ground and cut the string so it is tidy

img 2125 Pegging down roses

And the job is done! Other canes can be tied over and around as well, there’s no limit on how many you can peg down, just depends on the canes you have available.

You will get at least one years flowering like this, if you are lucky maybe 2, this one in my back garden, I redo each year.

There we have it, a nice and simple job to do and one that really does give a great effect if you add underplanting in between the canes as well.

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Plant of the week: Garrya elliptica ‘James Roof’

img 1990 1 Plant of the week: Garrya elliptica ‘James Roof’

img 1900 Plant of the week: Garrya elliptica ‘James Roof’

The plant of the week this week is a widely planted shrub that’s really starting to look great at this time of the year. And it rightly deserves this wide planting for its a tough plant

Garrya elliptica ‘James Roof’ is a evergreen shrub that sometimes is called Silk tassel bush or Quinine bush. It is a native of USA where it grows in a couple of different areas, the first one is on the coast of South Oregon and into California very near the coast well within 20miles of it. The other place it can be found growing on the mountains around the Pacific coastline in areas like Montana and San Bruno mountain ranges. It tends to grow 200m above sea level in the more damper spots along the coast.

img 1990 Plant of the week: Garrya elliptica ‘James Roof’

It was first discovered by one of the greatest plant collectors of all America, David Douglas in 1828. Garrya was named after Garry Nichols. Garry Nichols was the deputy governor of the Hudson Bay company and managed the merger between them and North West Company. Hudson Bay Company controlled the fur trade throughout North America and is still going as a trading company selling anything from clothes to digital space. The cultivar James Roof was named after the director of Tilden botanical gardens, California where this form was found growing in amongst some seedlings.

img 1993 Plant of the week: Garrya elliptica ‘James Roof’

Garrya elliptica ‘James Roof’ is an evergreen shrub with a sea green foliage. It makes a shrub that will reach 4m in height and width and makes both a great free standing shrub as well as a wall Plant. Garrya elliptica ‘James Roof’ makes a Great Wall shrub thriving on a north facing wall. It’s grown for its very beautiful greenish/grey catkins at start showing early winter and then open up around now to their full length of 20-35cm in the case of the male form James Roof. These catkins are really what this stunning shrub is grown for. Once they have finished flowering, they can stay on the shrubs for months after they have finished. It is pretty tough shrub, Hardy down to -15c but it will suffer a bit of browning on the leaves and some dieback at these temperatures. It prefers a soil that is pretty damp but is free draining, it will survive in drier soils but never does as well. It will quite take slightly acidic and alkaline soils, ideally in the PH range of 6-8. I have grown it on shallow soils over chalk without too many problems. It’s prefect for poor soils and coastal areas. Pruning wise it just needs a little shaping in April cutting the growth from last year down to a couple of buds on established plants and trim new growth on plants in training, down by half. Feeding is down using a compost mulch and vitax Q4 in around March time. Propagation is best done by semi-ripe cuttings taken in late summer. It is pretty disease and pest free, rabbits and deer don’t really like eating them!

Garrya elliptica ‘James Roof’ is available in most good garden centres and can be seen in most public gardens and in a lot of private gardens as well

img 1879 Plant of the week: Garrya elliptica ‘James Roof’

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Pruning Wisteria

img 2681 Pruning Wisteria

If that’s one plant that’s more than likely to get us into a tied up pickle on how to prune is certainly a wisteria. Wisterias seem to have long tentacle like growths that wrap around everything in its path indeed I wonder if J K Rowling thought about wisteria when she came up with Devils snare in Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone. Wisteria is actually pretty easy to train and prune, you just need to remember a few things to get the best from it

First the growth

wisteria tend to put on two types of growth, flowering growths that tend to be a short in length up to about 15cm maximum and extension growth. The flowering growths are indeed where the flowers will be borne from May onwards and the extension growth is what helps the plant to expand both in height but also these stems are designed to fit into rock spaces, expand and root and so forth produce another plant. This is part of the reason they love getting underneath slates and tiles.

img 1904 Pruning Wisteria

The shorter growths, these are the flower bearing growths

img 1903 Pruning Wisteria

The longer extension growths, these can be over 5m in length in some cases, also note the seedpods on the shorter growth.

knowing the differences between the two types of growth helps to know which ones to prune. It’s worth remembering also that wisterias can take up to 10 years to flower depending on how they are propagated, so if you can’t see any of the shorter growth on a younger Plant, it means it’s not old enough to flower yet.

It’s very easy with all this very long growth to just tie it in to the height that you want the plant to get too in the end. This ends up with a bare middle and all the growth at the top. It is worth taking time to allow the plant to fill up the gaps and build a frame work of branches up. This is done by reducing the young stems down in length to between 30-60cm. Why do this? Well whatever plant you prune it is the first 2-4 buds that will break. Having them break lower down the plant, will give you a chance to build up a frame work of branches over time. This pruning down to 30-60cm can carry on until the plant has cover the space with each new break treated the same. Once it has a good framework up or indeed the plant is already got a established framework, the extension growth should be pruned down to 3 buds above where it started growing last spring. This is done during the dormant season from December to end of February. If you need to summer prune from July onwards, prune back to 5 buds above the breaking point each time but when pruning in the winter, take these shoots hard back right down to 3 buds from where in broke in the spring. It may seem hard but by doing this, you will encourage more shorter flowering stems to form. If the plant is more established, just forget the 30-60cm training bit and cut straight to the pruning down to 3 buds. The buds on Wisterias are indeed opposite so need a slanting cut away from the bud, more information can be found on my pruning cuts blog here and part 2. Right enough words and onto the photos on how to do it

img 1906 Pruning Wisteria

New growth being cut down to 30-60cm to help form framework branches from the base up. When planting it’s also worth untwisting all the stems as eventually they will strange each other

img 1909 Pruning Wisteria

The extension growth being pruned back to 3 buds on an established framework branch.

img 1902 Pruning Wisteria

A plant before pruning with all the extension growth going a little mad!

img 1912 Pruning Wisteria

And afterwards with the extension growth pruned back to 3 buds and any new framework branches being trained in and cut back to approx 45cm.

img 2681 Pruning Wisteria

This is why we prune them as per above, this is the same plant in flower, every cm of it is covered in flower without one area being bare. It took me 4 years to get it looking like this and it was planted about 6yrs ago now. Taking time to build the framework up is very important.

img 1919 Pruning Wisteria

With older plants that haven’t had as much work done on them in the past, it is worth thinning out the older stems. I find it easier to compare them and after taking out the dead ones, remove the stems with the most length of bare stem or with the smallest amount of branches on. On a plant like this I would be looking at removing 2/3rds of the existing wood to open it up more and then start training in younger stems as a framework into the gaps. Some of the existing large branches can also be bent down to fill in the gaps as well.

img 1923 Pruning Wisteria

The finished plant and you can see how much clearer and managed it looks now. It will take about another 2-3yrs to get the plant to its best

I hope you have found this blog on pruning wisterias helpful, if I can help any more, please feel free to comment below and I will try and answer the query as soon as I can

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Rose and other workshops at Chawton House

img 2045 Rose and other workshops at Chawton House

Well I am delighted to announce that in conjunction with the Chawton House, we will be offering a series of garden workshops over the next year. These workshops are to be held is the beautiful surroundings of Jane Austin’s brothers Hampshire house, where Jane spent many happy days walking around the garden.

The first one on the 6th of March is looking at pruning rambling and climbing roses and the second on the 13th of March is looking at bush and shrub roses. These are all day course with a light lunch and refreshments part of the £75 ticket. There is a maximum of 15 tickets for sale for each day

img 3863 Rose and other workshops at Chawton House

I have many years of experience pruning roses after learning my trade working with the roses at Mottisfont Abbey Gardens. During these workshops, we shall be looking at the type of roses, the basics of pruning and the reasons behind it, a demonstration followed by a have-ago session with me on hand to advise you.

These workshops cover a wide range of topics looking at detail of getting the best from your roses, looking at feeding, underplanting, pests and diseases that may attack them and how to control them both organically and using chemicals. We all want Plants for nothing don’t we, here’s your chance to learn how to lift and divide Plants, learning how to divide herbaceous Plants with fibrous or more woody root plates. Unsure about what pest and diseases you have in your garden and how to treat them? Then we have a workshop for you, learn about the common pest and diseases in the garden and the ways to control them both chemically and organic!

Course

Length

Month

Date

Rose pruning-rambling and climbing roses

1day

Early March

6/3/2018

Rose pruning-bush and shrub

1 day

Mid March

13/3/2018

Lifting and dividing perennial plants

1/2 day

End of March

27/3/2018

Common pest and diseases in the garden

1day

May

15/05/2018

Herbaceous Plant staking

1/2 day

April

10/4/2018

Looking after roses

1/2 day

April

24/4/2018

So if you find your roses a rambling mess, no idea how to control your Hybrid Teas, please contact Chawton House to book yourself on these workshops, their details are as follows: info@chawtonhouselibrary.org or telephone: 01420 541010.

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Pruning cuts, how to get them right. Part 2

img 1713 Pruning cuts, how to get them right. Part 2

Well one the last part, we looked at the science behind making pruning cuts and best ways of pruning using secateurs and loppers, this week we shall look at using the power horse of hand tools, yes the pruning saw! So what is a pruning saw and how does it differ from say a carpentry saw? Well it’s a much stiffer blade that those types of saws and most of the time cut on the pull. Some can be folded up to fit into your pocket or a fixed blade. Pruning saws are used to prune anything bigger than 15mm and up to well as big as you can cut! A bit like using secateurs, theres no right or wrong ways but there’s always better ways to reduce damage or risks to the tree or plants. First thing is to get the sharpest pruning saw you can get with a sharp clean blade, over the years I have found Silky pruning saws the sharpest and even with these, I tend to change the blade every year so I am using the sharpest I can.

img 1730 Pruning cuts, how to get them right. Part 2

Now the angles of cut depending if the buds are alternate or oppersite are the same as for using secateurs on wood up to a couple of years old but they are a little more difficult to see in the older wood, almost looking for wrinkles in the Wood is almost a sign that buds are there hidden. That said in wood over 25mm thick, I prefer to do a straight cut across. The reasons are simple, the surface area on straight cuts are much smaller than cuts made at an angle, which means the plant has a smaller area to heal over. That even means on the junction of bigger branches. The pruning cut on these bigger branches to the main stem used to be done at an angle on the stem, the angle of the cut was always done just above the ridges or collar on the stem. It was thought these would heal quicker but it’s not really the case as the straight cut will heal a lot sooner.

Removing larger stems using a pruning saw is always best done in stages to reduce the chances of the branches tearing down the stem and causing a bigger damage for the plant to repair. Best way is to reduce the weight of the branch by either putting a cut on the underside of the branch to about a 1/5th of the width of the branch and at least 300mm from the trunk and then the main cut about 50mm above this. If you leave a bigger gap, the branch tends to trap itself in the bottom cut and doesn’t fall cleanly. The branch should snap cleanly off and fall down to the ground, then you finish off the cut neatly on the main stem . That cut is ideal for most pruning cuts. If there’s something underneath you that you don’t want the branch to drop off suddenly and hit, you can cut all the way though in one cut. This at times can cause a tear underneath the stems so I would make this cut at least 1000mm from the main stem in case the cut tears down. After this cut has been made and the branch had fallen down or been grabbed, the next cut needs to lighten the weight on the branch by cutting it down to 500mm before cutting the branch off at the main stem. All the cuts are pictured below

Last main pruning cut is removing stems from the base of shrubs and the key this here is to get the cuts as low as possible. Any stubs left will make the base of the plant look ugly and also mean next time you cut a stem out, you can’t get close to the base and it ends up even more snaggy

one other thing I don’t do is paint the cut area with wound paint. I prefer to let the wound heal naturally and found that the treatment tends to seal in the moisture and cause rot quicker

img 1720 Pruning cuts, how to get them right. Part 2

Picture of a clean drop pruning cut

img 1724 Pruning cuts, how to get them right. Part 2img 1726 Pruning cuts, how to get them right. Part 2

How it worked

img 1705 Pruning cuts, how to get them right. Part 2

Cutting straight through

img 1709 Pruning cuts, how to get them right. Part 2img 1710 Pruning cuts, how to get them right. Part 2

A straight though cut that shows the damage that it can cause

img 1703 Pruning cuts, how to get them right. Part 2

The growing collar as described in text

img 1728 Pruning cuts, how to get them right. Part 2img 1729 Pruning cuts, how to get them right. Part 2

Taking the stump back to the tree at the smallest point, if you had gone back harder, it will result in a larger wound and will take longer to heal

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Pruning cuts-how to get them right! Part 1.

img 0590 Pruning cuts how to get them right! Part 1.

It’s the time of year we all start pruning the dormant summer and autumn flowering shrubs and trees and getting the pruning cuts can be crucial for some plants for so many reasons. First of all you have to remember that you are being a surgeon on the plant and you would hate to have someone cutting you up with a blunt tool so make sure the tool you are using is not only sharp (will be featuring a bit of sharpening soon) but clean as well, if in doubt, just spray it with so household cleaning product that kills 99.9% of all know germs dead! You know the one I mean.

img 1287 Pruning cuts how to get them right! Part 1.

Now one thing to remember is that all plants don’t heal themselves but work to reduce the damaged area to stop fungi and other diseases entering the plant. The plant first of chemical process that reduces the risk of the wound becoming infected and then it callus over in time using callus cell in the stems of the plant. This all depends on the type of shrub or tree you are pruning. Some plants can have very thin bark with a thinner layer of callus cells that can mean the cut takes much longer to heal, roses and beech trees are good examples of this. There is a difference on age of the wood too, the younger twiggy wood doesn’t heal at the wound but near the next available bud. Again that something worth remembering for in a bit.

For this next bit, I am focusing on using secateurs and loppers and will do a bit of using saws later.

img 1613 Pruning cuts how to get them right! Part 1.

First thing to look for is whether the buds are opposite each other or alternate (see pictures) this does change the angle of the cut. With plants that buds are opposite, its best to cut level just top of the buds so basically you don’t damage them. The plant will boast either one or both these buds into life in the spring. Now with alternate buds, you are looking at taking a sloping cut away just above the bud and angled so the bud is at the top of the slope. Some people think that you do that to allow the water to drain away but that’s not the main reason why, it’s done like that so the plant pushes the sap into that bud and allows that bud to break. The cut should be ideally no more than 10mm above the bud as any more above it can result in die back and the stem dying back past that next bud and down to the next, leaving more dead wood in the plant to attract in diseases. One thing to remember though, no one can get it right all the time, not even us professionals, the idea is to aim to get it right most times and try and achieve at least 80% good cuts. Hopefully the pictures below will explain a bit more.

img 1578 Pruning cuts how to get them right! Part 1.

A rose has alternative buds, as you can see there’s no bud opposite

img 1579 1 Pruning cuts how to get them right! Part 1.

While this Hydrangea has its buds opposite each other

img 1594 Pruning cuts how to get them right! Part 1.

When pruning plants with opposite buds, you aim for a level cut just above the top of the bud

img 0586 Pruning cuts how to get them right! Part 1.

This picture shows the dieback from poorly angled cuts for a rose that has alternate buds. notice the church window of doom and also the damage down into the next bud at times

img 0590 Pruning cuts how to get them right! Part 1.

The alternate bud cut at the right angle with the blue lines showing what is happening to the sap and how it pushes it towards the bud to encourage that one to break.

Well that’s the end of the first part, next time we shall look at using a pruning saw and how to make the bigger cuts with that.

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Cutting back Hellebores

015 Cutting back Hellebores

As we head towards Christmas, one of my last jobs I like to do in the garden is remove the leaves on helleborus orientalis and H. x hybridus type hybrids. These are the hellebores that shoot up the flower buds from the base of the plant while others like H.niger, H.argufolius, H x sternii etc all bear the flowers on the leave stems and these should be cut back when they have finished flowering. Helleborus orientalis are also know as Christmas roses as they start flowering roundabout Christmas time and carry on to March. Cutting back the Hellebores helps to show the flowers off much better then they bloom, on some forms, the flowers can be hidden from view by the leaves and again it makes them visible. Another advantage of pruning them back now is removing the old leaves reduces the chances of the new foliage getting hellebore leaf spot (Microsphaeropsis hellebori).

Here’s my step by step guide

img 1406 1 Cutting back Hellebores

1)A group of Hellebores ready to cut back

img 1408 Cutting back Hellebores

2) pull back the leaves to show the crown of the plant

img 1429 1 Cutting back Hellebores

3) the red circled bits are the flower buds coming up, these are the ones you want to avoid cutting with the secateurs.

img 1409 Cutting back Hellebores

4) now carefully start cutting down the stems as close to the ground as you can

img 1418 2 Cutting back Hellebores

5) I find it best to clear any old stems and leaves out from the crown of the plant as I am cutting back as it makes it clearer to see what I am cutting back and avoiding the buds

img 1425 2 Cutting back Hellebores

6) the finished clump!

015 1 Cutting back Hellebores

6) and in flower!

It’s a nice and easy job to do and one perfect for this weekend!

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Tool review-ARS telescopic long reach pruner 180ZR-3.0-5

img 1175 Tool review ARS telescopic long reach pruner 180ZR 3.0 5

img 1175 Tool review ARS telescopic long reach pruner 180ZR 3.0 5Whenever you are pruning shrubs there’s always one little bit you can’t reach whether its from the ground or indeed perched on a step ladder, reaching those little bits has always been in the realm of the long arm pruners. I have used many forms in the past and they all have the same problem, the blade! I love using razor sharp secateurs and want all my other pruning equipment to be as sharp but all the long arm pruners I have used in the past, well the blade not to put a fine point on it, has been rubbish! That was until I brought these Japanese made ARS ones. Yes they aren’t cheap at £119.00 but the blade is a Felco quality blade, one that holds it edge better than any other long arm pruners on the current market. It is also easily replaced by undoing a few screws. Now don’t get me wrong, these won’t handle the large range of thick branches that the more robust long arm pruners will manage but it will handle most plant materials up to about 12mm thick making it ideal for fine pruning of things like roses, wisterias, fruit trees and other shrubs. The length starts at 6ft and is easily extendable to the maximum 10ft in 1ft using the push button adjustment, just hold it in and pull the pole until it clicks in, the pruning head is also easy to adjust and goes into 3 different angles to get the right angle to get the best cut. With all the other long arm pruners I have used in the past, to cut anything, you need to pull on a rope or a lever, which isn’t ideal when you are up some steps or moving amongst a load of plants with the cord trapped up somewhere. These have squeezable handle that makes the job of cutting very easy as does the sliding grip for you other hand. The ARS long arm pruners are very well built with the added bonus that all parts are serviceable and replaceable if required. They are very little light to use and in the last six months I have had the pleasure to use them, worked very well and have been easy to look after and keep sharp. Try hard as I can, I can’t find a fault in them, they do what they are intended for, very well and indeed I am left with the feeling it was more of my hard earned money well spent

For light pruning I would whole heartily recommend them

You can buy them from a number of suppliers who do supply ARS. I brought mine from the rather excellent Niwaki and their website can be found by clicking here

img 1189 Tool review ARS telescopic long reach pruner 180ZR 3.0 5

The cutting head is well made and easy to sharpen as well as replace if needed. The flexible metal strip is what makes it all work!

img 1178 Tool review ARS telescopic long reach pruner 180ZR 3.0 5

The squeezable handles are very easy to use and not caused any blisters yet! They stay closed using the black clip. It is very easy to use and in a great position.

img 11801 Tool review ARS telescopic long reach pruner 180ZR 3.0 5

The nice sliding handle is prefect to get your hand in the right place

img 11811 Tool review ARS telescopic long reach pruner 180ZR 3.0 5

The length adjustment is pretty easy just press in and pull until you hear a click and the popper pops in to the hole pic below

img 11821 Tool review ARS telescopic long reach pruner 180ZR 3.0 5

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The heads are fully adjustable to 3 angles