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Underplanting roses- part 2, a few idea

img 3948 Underplanting roses  part 2, a few idea

In last weeks post, (just here in case you missed it I spent a bit of time going though the ideas behind underplanting roses and it’s advantages, this week I shall be be looking at a range of under planting that will suit a wide range of roses and of course their different colour flowers. This list isn’t meant to be a bible but just a mere stepping stone into the future path of plant discovery. Now this blog could cover a few hundred plants but I shall keep it short at around 12 Plants just to give you a few ideas to get things started

Geranium pratense ‘Mrs Kendall Clark’

img 4974 Underplanting roses  part 2, a few idea

Now I could go on about the history of this Hardy Geranium and how it’s not the real form but let’s leave that to another blog, Geranium pratense ‘Mrs Kendall Clark’ tends to flower just the once mainly but it can repeat a couple of times during the summer months. It’s light blue stripped flowers do tend to suit single coloured roses, either in pastel colours or it can just about get away with the darker reds too

Eryngium giganteum

img 6694 1 Underplanting roses  part 2, a few idea

is much better known as Miss Willmott’s ghost. This biannual appeared the year after Miss Ellen Willmott visited a garden as she had a habit of spreading the seed in a garden during her visits. This is one of the most useful silver plants to have in the garden, it just works with any colour and almost any Rose! It is very good at self seeding itself all around the garden but it is easily removed if it’s in the wrong place. As it is a biannual, it will just form a rosette of leaves in the first year and then flower and die in the next.

Digitalis purpurea f.albiflora

img 5112 Underplanting roses  part 2, a few idea

Another biannual is the beautiful Digitalis purpurea f.albiflora or the pure white foxglove. This plant gives you so much height within the border and is important mixed in with the shrub roses and their range of pinks and reds. These towers of white help to give the border some height and purity to the border. One word of warning, if you want just the pure white forms be certain to remove any with any hint of purple!

Sisyrinchium striatum

012 Underplanting roses  part 2, a few idea

This is a odd looking plant with iris like leaves and dainty light yellow flowers followed by black seedheads. It’s colour and strap like leaves makes it a good plant to mix in with roses of a wide range of colours,from white to dark red. As well as working with a wide colour range, it works well with a wide range of heights, again with roses ranging in height from 45cm to 2m. It does selfseed a little but is easily replanted into the correct place

Campanula latiloba

img 6699 Underplanting roses  part 2, a few idea

This delightful campanula comes in a few different colours, Hidcote Amethyst is a amethyst colour, the main form is blue and the white form called alba is also a very good plant to use and it will cover a wide range of roses. It will also flower for May weeks from May into August depending on the year and weather

Anchusa azurea

bed09ab2005 Underplanting roses  part 2, a few idea

The Italian bugloss as it is more commonly called is a bright blue perennial that will repeat flower during the year. This blue colour works again with so many colour forms of roses. It has hairy leaves that may cause a rash on some people ie me! It grows to 50cm in height and can be cut down after flowering to encourage more to come through.

Dianthus old garden hybrids

img 4141 1 Underplanting roses  part 2, a few idea

These small plants add more to the roses than just their beautiful range of pink flowers that fill the air with a clove like scent. They also bring a great shade of grey needle like foliage to the party. Their small size makes them ideal for planting around the edges of the roses and through smaller roses. They also do a great job at the front of the borders by helping to hide the bottoms of the shrub roses, which can be a little unsightly but don’t tell them please

Geranium psilostemon

img 5058 Underplanting roses  part 2, a few idea

Geranium psilostemon needs a little more careful partnering although used correctly it can really uplift the surrounding roses. It’s difficulty comes from the colour and the height, it surprisingly works well with a range of pinks and white flowers just the sheer brightness can at times over power the surrounding plants. The other thing to watch out for is the height, it can grow to 1.2m which can over power a lot of roses, so again it needs bearing in mind when using

Penstemon ‘Pensham Wedding Day’

img 5124 Underplanting roses  part 2, a few idea

Penstemons are great plants to have in the garden anyway but they make great additions to the Rose beds. As they repeat flower throughout the summer, they make great companions to repeat flowering roses and this white form suites pink and red flowering roses.

Penstemon ‘Hidcote Purple’

penostemon hidcote purple Underplanting roses  part 2, a few idea

While the purple form of Penstemon Hidcote Purple works so well with white and pale coloured roses, again it’s repeat flowering helps to bring colour to the borders even after the roses have finished flowering

Tanacetum parthenium ‘Flore Pleno’

img 3948 Underplanting roses  part 2, a few idea

The double flowered version of feverfew is one of the most underrated plants we grow in the garden, this double version just flowers all summer long with attractive lime greenish foliage again really helps to set off the darker greens of the roses and other plants. The flowers are like tiny buttons and are quite delightful. It does self seed a little but that’s what friends and plant sales are for. It does have one advantage of attracting aphids to them and away from the roses. Works with a wide range of rose colours, indeed not many colour flowers it doesn’t work with

Cotinus coggygria

img 1106 Underplanting roses  part 2, a few idea

We all need a little bit of purple foliage in the garden don’t we and Cotinus is the best at this. It is indeed a large shrub that is ideally suited for the bigger garden but it can be kept coppiced back each year to form these larger purple leaves and I have found a light prune in July keeps them down a little in size and helps to bulk up the size of the plant. Works well with a wide range of rose flowers.

This is just a small drop in the ocean of what you could do, the only thing that should stop is time and cost. Don’t be afraid of trying things that may sound silly like using Dahlias and other half Hardy Plants, they can and do work, it’s just getting the right combination. So please give it a go and enjoy growing roses in a way that enhances all the plants in your garden.

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Six on Saturday – 10th of March,2018

img 2275 Six on Saturday   10th of March,2018

Well that didn’t last long did it, of course it’s the snow I am talking about, we had it quite deep here for us in Hampshire but sadly most of it was gone by Sunday, it did make the garden look beautiful and of course the plants have their colours enhanced with the pure white snow, making all the colours seemingly jumping out at you.

The rest of the week was pretty cool and dry with us right until Friday when it seems the heavens opened and everything got a good watering. I am still not 100% sure the winter has finished with us yet, there always seems to be a little bit of a sting in the tale of the winter

My six this week comes from my own garden, there’s a few things going on and being planned as well, I hope you enjoy this weeks six

img 4387 Six on Saturday   10th of March,2018

This is my last picture of my Edgeworthii I promise, well ok for this year and I will be honest it’s nearly finished but I love this picture of the flowers with it’s little snow hat on, it really bought out the colour in the picture, it looks stunning doesn’t.

img 2275 Six on Saturday   10th of March,2018

The very beautiful crocus tricolor, it’s a new in the garden this year but already I love the 3 different colours on the flowers, it really makes them stand out

img 0685 Six on Saturday   10th of March,2018

My new roses, not all for me but a few are! Always find it exciting getting new plants in, these are kneeled in or my version which involves a large pot and loads of bark mulch used to cover the roses. This is a brilliant way to keep the roots damp in the short time in a small garden where you haven’t got the space to kneel them into the garden

img 0684 Six on Saturday   10th of March,2018

And this is where they will be going, taking the Spotted laurel and planting under the window and replacing it with roses and a few more underplanting to get the best from the site, it just needed a little more colour in the area

img 0683 Six on Saturday   10th of March,2018

I don’t have that many daffodils in my garden, mainly as it in my mind suits the more formal approach that tulips give you, I caved in last autumn and thought I would try this smaller forms of daffodils like fortune, here just coming into flower, can’t wait to see them in full flower, hoping it is going to work

img 2277 Six on Saturday   10th of March,2018

And I love these little specie tulips, this is the first one opening for me and it’s called biforiformis, it’s tiny flowers look nothing like the huge forms of tulip that will be flowering very soon but these hold a little bit more charm for me

hope you enjoyed my 6 on Saturday from My garden. If you did please checkout other people’s 6 on the memes founder website I love seeing other people’s plants and what’s happening in their gardens. Why not give it ago yourself next week and give me a shout so I can take a look

Until next week, have fun in the garden

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Under planting roses part 1, the reasoning behind its

2015k Under planting roses part 1, the reasoning behind its

2015k Under planting roses part 1, the reasoning behind its

There’s so many titles I could use instead of underplanting roses, mutual enhancing planting could be one or companion planting could be another but that said it could also be just mixed border planting with roses as the main shrubs. This style isn’t new, it was started but the great Irish gardener William Robinson, who loved the English Cottage garden style, picked up by the great Gertrude Jekyll but it was the Graham Stuart Thomas that really brought this style to modern British gardens, Graham was influenced by Gertrude and William and used the walled gardens at Mottisfont to produce his finest works helped as all great artists are, by a talented young (at the time) head gardener called David Stone. These gardens do show what can be achieved by careful planing over time. Now I will get one thing straight, this blog is about how to achieve the effect, the benefits of it and how to manage the feeding of the soil. I could spend ages listing plants that go well with certain roses but that may not be your tastes and not work well in your garden.

011 Under planting roses part 1, the reasoning behind its

So why firstly go to the trouble of mixing it all up, why not just have rose beds? Very good question just need to try and answer it. Personally I am not a fan of monoculture or growing one thing in a large bed on its own, I feel it doesn’t look right for me personally but there’s other more detailed reasons other than my personal options. Mixing up the planting helps to bring in different foliage and flower shapes that help to break up the roundness of the rose flowers and shapes. These can add spikes, bells, indeed any form and shape to the pattern of the Rose and help to enhance both. Even larger flowered plants like peonies can be used with great effect with the roses. The key to whatever flower you are using is to differ from the rose in some way whether it’s size, shape or colour. Going back to the peonies for a minute, a large single Peonia works well with a semi double or a double roses as the simple ness of the peonia makes up for the complexity of the Rose and vice verse. Same with colour, matching the colours is the most important side, img 6694 Under planting roses part 1, the reasoning behind itsusing sliver foliage thoughout the bed helps to enhance most Rose flower colours but using darker coloured foliage doesn’t enhance as wide a colour spectrum. It takes time to learn what colours work well together with the roses and other underplanting and the best way is to workout what works with you in your settings, personal taste and soil type. Same again with the heights, a lot of the roses tend to grow to certain heights, Bush roses are around 2-3ft in height and shrub roses are around 3-5ft in height so it’s being careful not to have plants that are too powerful growers to take over the roses and of course vice versa.

img 1104 Under planting roses part 1, the reasoning behind itsI have seen it done with Nepeta ‘Six Hills Giant’ used as a mass underplanting of Rosa Rugosa ‘Hansa’. The ideal was beautiful, a massive of slivery blue under the darkish red of the rose but it failed as the Nepeta form was just too strong and powerful for the roses. A much smaller form like N.fassinni would of worked well. And also with Geranium macrophyllum used as an underplanting on Bush roses, once established, there was about 10cm difference in height between the two and it looked wrong, changed it to Geranium x cantbridgense hybrids and it worked well, with this form much more smaller growing. It is a tricky job to match them up but the results can be well worth it and once you start to get your eye in, you can start evaluating most of other plants on how they will work well with roses. They can then be planted up and trailed, it works well that’s good, if not well, starting again can be the fun part. It’s also working out what will work well with your soil and local conditions as well.

bed d 05b Under planting roses part 1, the reasoning behind itsOf course it’s not just getting both the underplanting and roses flowering at the same time, underplanting can be used to extend to seasons of interest from much before the roses open and to well after they have finished, using plants like spring bulbs like tulips, alliums, asters (in the various new names of course) clematis and of course topiary! Adding plants like dahlias and late flowering salvias can be done as a more modern twist in the borders. Plants like Helleborus argufoloius, flower early in the year but the foliage adds something to the borders during the summer months too. Again it’s just a case of playing with plants and see if it works. I have found the helleborus x hybridus forms difficult to add to roses, until I tried them with Rosa rugosa hybrids and found they worked well with the different foliage of the rugosa.

img 5123 Under planting roses part 1, the reasoning behind itsunderplanting roses can also do so much more than just enhancing the roses, it can also help the health of the roses. How? Well in various different ways, take Blackspot for an example, the spores from the fungus are transported from the infected rose by water droplets. These hit the rose, pickup the fugal spores, splash down onto the ground and then up onto the next rose, infecting that one as well. Underplanting slows down the droplet speed once it’s hit the rose and cushions the fall of the water onto the ground, reducing the splash effect and other plants then also stop this splash from hitting the next rose. Powdery mildew is spread by wind, catching hold of the spores and spreading it to the next rose, underplanting between the roses, adds another small barrier to help reduce this spread.

img 0975 Under planting roses part 1, the reasoning behind itsThen there’s the insect pests like aphids, just as in organic growing, a sacrificial plant can be grown to attract them to it and then this plant will attract in aphid eating machines like ladybird larvae to feast on them. Growing a wide range of flowers will also attract in a wide range of beneficial insects like hover-flies that again will feed on the any pests around, the seedpods left late until the season attract in birds to feed on them, these birds normally come in large mixed flocks and they will also look for insects hidden on the roses.

2006c Under planting roses part 1, the reasoning behind itshow to feed the roses is one of the big questions I am normally asked in concern with underplanting roses. The answer is a little more complex, I don’t believe in feeding just for one plant, I believe we should be feeding the soil and producing a heathy soil, one that can support a wide range of plants easily. Once the soil is healthy, the plants growing will be stronger and more able to fight diseases and pests. So I tend to add a fairly organic fertiliser to the soil in early spring, covering the whole area not just around the plants and then mulch with a garden compost or composted green waste. This I find is enough to keep both the roses and underplanting happy.

img 1091 Under planting roses part 1, the reasoning behind itsIn all mixing up the planting with roses is indeed hard work but it is a way of growing them that is both pleasing to the eye and one that does have good health benefits for the roses too.

In the next part, I shall have a closer look at some of the underplanting that can be the most overall use for underplanting through roses, it won’t be a complete list but just some of the ideas of combinations to try

global blogging feature Under planting roses part 1, the reasoning behind its
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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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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!





Rose pruning-rambling and climbing roses


Early March


Rose pruning-bush and shrub

1 day

Mid March


Lifting and dividing perennial plants

1/2 day

End of March


Common pest and diseases in the garden




Herbaceous Plant staking

1/2 day



Looking after roses

1/2 day



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: or telephone: 01420 541010.

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Six on Saturday 20/01/2018

img 1755 1 Six on Saturday 20/01/2018

Well another week completed and another dollar earnt! But what a odd week, total downpour on Monday, gale force winds then battered us during Wednesday night Thursday morning, scattering the empty plastic glass collection boxes up and down my street. The poorly fixed fence the landlord did in my back garden scummed to these gales, it was only replaced 3yrs ago, totally rotten, proving the point about cheap not saving money most of the time. Another job to add to the list of things to do….. well good news is that the six on Saturday has now it’s own hashtag, it’s #SixOnSaturday

Well here’s my Six for this week, grabbed from my clients garden and a Regent’s Park garden, hoping if I get some daylight, I shall do a special one in the next couple of weeks. But here we go

img 1755 Six on Saturday 20/01/2018img 1756 Six on Saturday 20/01/2018

Well not seen a rose in flower like this in January before and this rose called Phab Gold. It was named after the Phab charity in 1997 to celebrate its 40yr anniversary. There were quite a few roses still in flower in Regent’s Park but this one had by far the most blooms on!

img 1714 Six on Saturday 20/01/2018

Spent most of this week pruning fruit trees and one of the joys for me while pruning is looking at the beautiful mosses and lichens growing on these trees. Hoping to learn their names a bit more next year.

img 1716 Six on Saturday 20/01/2018img 1731 Six on Saturday 20/01/2018

Talking about pruning fruit trees, here’s a large one I pruned this week, it’s a start of a 3 year plan on getting this tree back to a size and shape both me and the clients are happy with, already looking forward to it next year!

img 1746 Six on Saturday 20/01/2018

Just seeing these snowdrops emerging from the depths of the soil once more, just lifts my mood completely, I do love snowdrops and look forward to seeing them out so much. This time of year can be so dull and long with the grey dull short days but there is so much going on and to look forward to seeing if we can allow ourselves to do so.

img 1751 Six on Saturday 20/01/2018

This Swiss chard is nearly done now but is still adding colour to the vegetable garden.

img 1752 Six on Saturday 20/01/2018

Clematis cirrhosa is starting to do its magic in a couple of my gardens, I love love this clematis. It’s a great plant to cover an area and it’s flowery sight is very welcome at this time of year!

I hope you enjoyed my 6 on Saturday from My clients gardens. If you did please checkout other people’s 6 on the memes founder website I love seeing other people’s plants and what’s happening in their gardens. Why not give it ago yourself next week and give me a shout so I can take a look

Until next week, have fun in the garden

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Six on Saturday 13/01/2018

img 1662 2 Six on Saturday 13/01/2018

It doesn’t seem possible does it? Already 2 weeks into January, almost halfway though the month! But what a mild week it has been, the grass seems to be growing, certainly put on a bit of growth in the weeks between my visit to one site, hoping we get a little bit of colder weather to slow it down! One thing I hate is those winter days where it’s just dull all day, makes me feel very inclosed and we had a week of those, only day it was bright and cheerful was on Wednesday when I had the pleasure of taking a pruning workshop for a small group at Waterperrys in Oxford, the gardens there are always wonderful and it was lovely taking time to spend basically talking about a job I love doing, pruning roses. Taking about pruning let’s delve into my sin on Saturday for this week, again coming from a clients garden in the new forest.

img 1657 Six on Saturday 13/01/2018

img 1662 1 Six on Saturday 13/01/2018

First one of the 6 this week has to be pruning these beautiful espalier apple trees, not had much pruning done for a few years, had to do a little corrective works on them to get them into a little more of a shape but very happy for the finished works, will be summer pruning them next time.

img 1679 Six on Saturday 13/01/2018

Ahh yes a simple pot marigold or calendula, been flowering non stop since the summer! A massive ray of sunlight on a dull January day and also the first time I have seen on flowering this late in the season

img 1677 Six on Saturday 13/01/2018

Ahh still some rose hips about, almost like Christmas baubles left on the Plants, forgotten by all, for some reason the birds have left these alone but how lovely is it to see them on the plant this late on in the season. No idea on the rose yet, not seen it flower properly,

img 1686 Six on Saturday 13/01/2018

Rosemary and I am guessing this form is Miss Jessop upright, well the straight upright stems are a little bit of a giveaway! One plant we never think about using as a wall shrub, it makes a great espalier if grown on a sunny wall or 6ft fence panel! Takes a few years to get there, but well worth it, sorry got lost on another line of thought! Yes flowering remarkably early this year.

img 1675 Six on Saturday 13/01/2018

I just had to add this Sarcococca into the mix, the smell from its tiny white flowers just filled the whole garden with its scent, again without the planting plan, the size of the shrub along with the leave shape leads me to believe its hookeriana var Humilis. Great for a small garden and the scent is just out of the world!

img 1669 Six on Saturday 13/01/2018img 1685 Six on Saturday 13/01/2018

Another pruning shot, this time of a pear tree that’s been fan trained, not seen many fan trained pear trees, normally it’s the stone type fruit trees that get fan trained, once again though these trees need a bit of work to get them back into a little bit of shape, felt happy with them now I am done, will summer prune umm in the summer 🙂

I hope you enjoyed my 6 on Saturday from My clients gardens. If you did please checkout other people’s 6 on the memes founder website I love seeing other people’s plants and what’s happening in their gardens. Why not give it ago yourself next week and give me a shout so I can take a look

Until next week, have fun in the garden

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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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New on the site!

img 1349 New on the site!

img 1352 New on the site!

Well a few of my regular followers may of noticed that my normal mid week blog is missing this week, it’s been due to two main things, first of all a trip down to Cornwall to speak at the Cornwall Gardens SocietysDecember meetings (more about that another week!) but also my time has been spent putting the finishing touches to my couple of new webpages. A few weeks ago, I printed some blank greeting cards to sell at my talks and quite a few of you are interested in buying them, so here we go! I hope you like them! Will be adding new ones as soon as I get them printed. Would love your feedback!

img 1349 New on the site!

In the new year, I am also hoping to do a days seminar on becoming a speaker and all this will be bookable though my shop.

Please also don’t think this will make my site become commercial, I have no intention of becoming a shop first, it will always be my blog site

I hope you enjoy it

img 1350 New on the site!

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Planting bareroot roses 

img 3342 Planting bareroot roses 

As we move more towards the middle of November, the Rose nurseries start lifting the bareroot roses from the ground. What are bareroot roses I hear some of you ask? Well there’s two main ways of buying roses, first one is in a pot with compost that allows the rose to be sold all year around and planted all year around, that’s called containerised. The second way is what is called bareroot and that is just as it sounds, the Rose is dug up without any soil and is sold on like this. As there’s no soil on the roots, this can only happen during the dormant season ie the winter. Main advantages over containerised roses is the cost, generally speaking they are much cheaper to plant this way, other advantage is you can buy a wider range of roses bareroot as it is more cost effective for the growers to grow small amounts of some varieties. It is also felt that bareroot Plants also can establish better as the root system isn’t trained into a pot and will push out into the surrounding soil much better.

Whatever the reason you wish to choose, it is a great time to order and plant bareroot roses and hopefully my simple method will help you to get the best start for them if you are trying it for the first time

img 3335 11 Planting bareroot roses 
First thing you need to do is dig a hole, the hole should be ideally about 40cm square and deep. I always do square holes as it helps to force roots out of the planting hole. With circular holes, the roots can go round and round but in square holes, they can’t, they hit a corner and then have to break out into the wider bed around them
img 3336 Planting bareroot roses 
Add about a handful of good fertiliser around the hole and at the bottom of the hole. Vitax Q4 or blood, fish and bonemeal are good choices. I also add some good compost around the hole at this stage, I prefer to use garden compost or recycled green waste product like pro grow rather than manure. This is because the manure is too strong for the mycorrhizal and will kill it off
img 1720 Planting bareroot roses 
Add some form of mycorrhizal to the bare root plant , mycorrhizal is forms of friendly fungus that live on all plant roots, they form a symbolic relationship with the plant, helping it to get up more water and nutrients from the soil, this can be up to 1/3 more. It is a naturally occurring around all plants but in cases of bareroot Plants, it’s all been left behind, so they will benefit from some being added. This will help the plant establish much quicker and grow away much stronger than one without it. There’s 2 ways of adding it at this stage, best way is to use a root dip, which is a paste mixed to wallpaper paste thick and has the mycorrhizal added to and then you just dip the roses into it. This is ideal if you are planting a lot of roses
img 3338 Planting bareroot roses 
Then you put the rose carefully into the middle of the hole, I would also aim to have the base of the rose ie where all the stems are coming from, about 25mm deeper than the surrounding soil height. if you are adding dry mycorrhizal instead of the root dip, I sprinkle half on the exposed roots now
img 3340 Planting bareroot roses 
Next stage is to work the soil into the gaps around the roots using your fingers and firming it in as you go. Once I have gone halfway up, I add the rest of the dry form of mycorrhizal if I am using it

img 3342 Planting bareroot roses 
And then back fill the rest of the soil around the plant being careful not to bury the stems of the roses. All you need to do now is tidy up any rough cut stems down to a bud, remove any weaker growths down to the base and try and aim for 3-4 good stems from the root stock, if there’s less, done worry, and enjoy the rose in the summer months

And that is all there is to it, nice and simple. If you would like further advice, please feel free to ask away 

Posted on

Six on Saturday 28/10/17

img 0920 Six on Saturday 28/10/17

Well it doesn’t seem like a week since I was writing the one for last week, the weather that effects us gardeners more than others, ended up being pretty wet but so warm this week thankfully drying out a little towards the end of the week, with that strange yellow thing in the sky appearing for one day. The rumour is Jack Frost could be arriving this week, I wonder how tough he will be, need to get the rest of my tender plants in overcome this weekend, hopefully to save them for next years enjoyment. Anyway here are this weeks 6 highlights from my own and my clients gardens.

img 0930 Six on Saturday 28/10/17
This lovely hydrangea has decided it’s time to flower again for some reason, seems a common occurrence amongst hydrangeas this year, never mind, we get to enjoy their beautiful flowers for a little longer!
img 0919 Six on Saturday 28/10/17
Acer palmatum Dissectum Atropurpureum delights us in this garden with its purple foliage during the summer months and then turns this wonderful colour in the autumn supposed to be a slow growing shrub, it loves the clay soil on this site and is now putting on about a foot of growth every year
img 0920 Six on Saturday 28/10/17
Time for some hips and Rosa glauca is having one last throw of the delight dice, after thrilling is all summer with its grey foliage and small but perfectly formed pink flowers, it finishes the season with some great hips and I love great hips!
img 0932 Six on Saturday 28/10/17
Iris foetidissima is better known as the stinking iris mainly as the flowers and to a lesser degree the foliage just stink! It’s a horrid cat wee smell and for me the only saving graces are it is a british native, the leaves are evergreen and the seed pods are stunning,
img 0924 Six on Saturday 28/10/17
Leaf piles! Nothing and I repeat nothing says autumn more than a pile of leaves and no matter how long it takes me to produce a huge leaf ruck I can not help myself going through it and kicking some into the air, grabbing a handful and just smelling them, only to be done with fresh dry leaves I may add! Fallen leaves are the sign summer is over and the naked trees a sign winter is here
img 1040 Six on Saturday 28/10/17
Spiders spiders everywhere! Wherever you look at this time of year the evidence of spiders can be found in hedges, grass and borders. Their cobwebs are like natures own deadly decorations bringing in winter, really luck to get this one after a heavy mist the other day!
I hope you enjoyed my 6 on Saturday from both mine and a clients garden. If you did please checkout other people’s 6 on the memes founder website I love seeing other people’s plants and what’s happening in their gardens. Why not give it ago yourself next week and give me a shout so I can take a look

Until next week, have fun in the garden

Posted on

Six on Saturday- 30/09/2017

img 0778 Six on Saturday  30/09/2017

Another week has flown by, with it, it seems so has the summer. More and more plants are slowly putting their autumn clothing on  and getting ready for the winter. It’s been a odd week weather wise, a bit rain, heavy at times but also so mild and humid. The plants and gardens are still producing some beautiful moments

Well I hope you enjoy my 6 on Saturday this week, all the plants are from my garden again this week

img 0830 Six on Saturday  30/09/2017
Edgeworthii has now produced its flower buds for early spring and it looks like I am going to have a cracking display on my plant this year! Just need to add a child protection zone around it and enjoy the beautiful flowers and scent. Love watching the buds develop and slowly open up. Something to look forward to enjoying this winter
img 0824 Six on Saturday  30/09/2017
Unknown Pyracantha, it was here on the house we rent in chandlers ford when we arrived here and the great looking berries are the reason it’s still here, pain in the backside to prune it back and shape it every 3 weeks, the flowers are beautiful but stink but the berries oh the berries!
img 0829 Six on Saturday  30/09/2017
Rose climbing lady Hillingdon, one of my favourite roses and I think it’s second time up on the 6 on Saturday, but she is still flowering so well even now, at least 30 blooms on a small plant, going to be a big show for the last show of the year
img 0825 Six on Saturday  30/09/2017
Now I know The Propagator loves his bargain plants and so do I! I couldn’t resist this stunning salvia microphylla Bordeaux for only £3, hoping to over winter it and enjoy its stunning flowers all of next year
img 0832 Six on Saturday  30/09/2017
Ok ok not a brilliant photo of a stunning plant but pelargonium sidoides has really dark flowers finished off with lovely silver foliage, looks great on my patio table, certainly will try and sneak this into the kitchen windowsill for this winter
img 0778 Six on Saturday  30/09/2017
Rosa falstaff is one of my top David Austin hybrids, the flowers shape and scent remind me so much of an Heritage rose, this one was planted in the spring and really struggled to get going, then about 6 weeks ago it started growing and rewarded me with three flowers! Growing it as a low climber on my wall but makes a good shrub rose.

I hope you enjoyed my 6 on Saturday from my  garden. If you did please checkout other people’s 6 on the memes founder website I love seeing other people’s plants and what’s happening in their gardens. Why not give it ago yourself next week and give me a shout so I can take a look

Until next week, have fun in the garden