Prune for blooms

Get roses and wis­te­ria in shape now, says Mary Lovell-smith, then scour the seed cat­a­logues and plan a gor­geous dis­play of an­nu­als.

The Press - Your Weekend (The Press) - - Gardening -


• Time for wis­te­ria’s sec­ond prune of the year. The first, af­ter flow­er­ing in sum­mer, takes out the whippy new shoots to five or so leaves, which en­cour­ages it to form flower buds rather than fo­liage. This win­ter prune should take those same shoots back fur­ther and is to pro­hibit fo­liage ob­scur­ing the flow­ers. A quick weed of flower beds will make your job eas­ier in spring, when any weeds ly­ing semi-dor­mant will spring into life as soon as the soil and air tem­per­a­tures start to rise a lit­tle. Give flowerbeds a light dress­ing of blood and bone, stir­ring it gen­tly into the soil. Pe­rus­ing seed and nurs­ery cat­a­logues may in­spire your spring and sum­mer gar­den. Or­der seeds soon, ready for sow­ing later in Au­gust. The likes of lo­belia, petu­nia, salvias, Shirley pop­pies, snap­drag­ons, stock and zin­nia are best started in a glasshouse or cold­frame, or in­doors un­til Oc­to­ber, maybe, when they can be sown di­rectly into the gar­den.


• Rose prun­ing sea­son is here in earnest, though some pre­fer to wait till early spring when most dan­ger of late frosts is past. The the­ory be­ing that prun­ing pro­motes growth and ten­der new shoots can be dam­aged by frosts. All roses may be pruned now ex­cept for banksias and climber types, which should be done in sum­mer af­ter the first flush of flow­er­ing. Prune with sharp se­ca­teurs or a prun­ing saw to re­move cross­ing-over, spindly, weak, dis­eased or dead branches, and any thin­ner than a pen­cil. Cut re­main­ing branches to about four out­ward­fac­ing buds. Branches that sprout from be­low the graft (usu­ally recog­nised as a bulge, or a change of bark at the base of rose bushes) are called suck­ers and should be re­moved from be­low ground level. Cuts are usu­ally made at a 45-de­gree an­gle to en­cour­age rain­wa­ter to run off the plant.


• Chit pota­toes – that is, place them sin­gle-layer in a tray in a cool dry place to sprout. When the sprouts are about 1cm long they will be ready for plant­ing in the gar­den. • Sow broad­beans with­out de­lay. Like peas,

broad­beans don’t like the heat of sum­mer. • Cau­li­flower, cab­bage and silverbeet may also be sown in seed trays un­der cover (a sheet of glass or thick plas­tic is ad­e­quate in all but the cold­est places), ready for plant­ing out into the gar­den in spring. • Pre­pare veg­etable beds for the com­ing sea­son. Green ma­nure crops should be dug in; as should com­post – ei­ther in­stead or as well.

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