Now that Christmas is over, we start thinking of our hopes and dreams for the year ahead. I love making lists to help me remember all the tasks that I want to do in the garden over the next couple of months. Let’s think of a few things to start with…
Generally I like to prune roses around the end of January/early February, but you can do so anytime up until the end of March, whilst the plants are dormant. Cut out any stems that are crossing, damaged or diseased, and prune back any growth that is thinner than the width of a pencil. You want to create a goblet shape so that air can flow around the base of the plant. Make a clean, sloping cut above a bud, and prune any dieback to healthy pith. Cut back any suckers to ground level.
On established roses, cut back any woody stems that are poorly flowering. On newly planted roses cut them back hard to encourage new shoots. For old rose varieties prune them after flowering in the summer, and sparingly – they don’t need hard pruning like modern hybrid tea roses.
You can also plant bare root roses up until May.
Sedum Stonecrop in the summer – Hylotelephium ‘Autumn joy,’ one of my favourites.
After the glorious show of seed heads over the past few months, cut back Sedums to ground level, being careful not to damage the new growth that is forming.
Depending on the species, cut back deciduous grasses hard before new growth begins. For evergreen grasses, comb your hands through them to remove any loose, dry, foliage. Larger evergreen species like Pampas grass can be cut back hard with loppers in early spring, but remember to wear protection on your hands and eyes. Remove the dead flower stalks of evergreen sedges like Carex and Luzula.
Wisteria – image copyright almanac.com
Wisteria can be left to ramble, but will flower better if pruned twice a year. As you’ll already have pruned back the current year’s growth in July/August to try to keep it in check, you can begin the winter pruning of Wisteria between January and February when they are dormant. Cut back the same growth to two or three buds. This helps to tidy it up before the new growing season begins and ensures that flowers will not be obscured by leaves when they arrive.
When working in a garden it is an absolute joy to be overlooked by the majesty of of this beautiful and mighty plant. They can grow aggressively and do need to be taken care of. But what an incredible climber!
Winter garden image copyright Piet Oudolf
Now is a good time to start thinking about which shrubs you might like to plant or reposition in your garden over the next couple of months whilst they remain in their dormancy.