It might still be raining but spring is definitely on the way, my garden is actually starting to get some colour in it. Snowdrops, crocus, primroses, camellia, daffodils, cyclamen, hellebores lovely, and oh it does gladden the heart and put a smile on your face!
And I’ve actually been out doing some gardening – during the gaps between the showers needless to say. Just a little pruning as I hadn’t got round to doing my roses and they do say to get them done by Valentines day which is a bit of an old wives tale, basically it’s best to do them when they are dormant or semi-dormant. Although if you’re in a very cold part of the country it is best to leave them until early spring that way the dormant buds are protected from the worst of the cold weather.
A good set of secateurs are a must so that you get clean cuts – no squashing the stems or snagging which can cause die back or let disease get in. Where to start when it comes to pruning … take out all dead, dying and diseased stems first, followed by weak and twiggy growth and crossing stems. Always cut just above a bud (normally an outward facing one) with a sloping cut that is angled away from the bud which helps to keep water away from the bud. If you have hybrid tea or grandiflora roses like me then they need to be cut back quite hard to about 20-25cm high, while species roses and old garden roses need lighter pruning.
Mop-head Hydrangeas also benefit from being pruned in early spring; first take out any dead wood to healthy growth or right back to the base if necessary, cut back the old flowered stems to a strong pair of buds and if it’s an old shrub it’s worth removing some of the older growth back to the base which encourages young stronger growth and stops the shrub from being congested. Other shrubs that benefit from a little spring pruning include Buddleia, Cotinus, Lavatera, Spiraea and Hibiscus syriacus.
And I’ve just got my seed potatoes which I need to “chit” which to you and me means sprout, put them eyes up (egg boxes are great to hold them in place) in a light room that’s frost free and in 6 weeks there’ll have some nice strong shoots ready for planting out at the end of March. You can’t beat home grown new potatoes!