Jobs for the weekend.
Autumn is a busy time in the garden, lot’s of clearing and tidying and preparing the garden for the winter. As well as carrying on collecting leaves and cutting back perennials (As Explained Here), here’s a few other jobs to be getting on with in the garden.
Cutting Back Roses:
Hybrid Tea and Floribunda Roses are fantastic plants, they’re fully hardy, floriferous and can improve any garden! But they do have a tendency of becoming quite tall in a season, this can become a problem through what is known as ‘Wind Rock’. This is essentially when the taller top growth acts as a sail in the wind, combine this with the autumnal and wintery winds and your Roses can be rocked back and forth causing extensive damage to the roots.
The remedy is quite simple, just cut them back! But not too hard and not to the same precision as the February prune (we’ll do a blog about that closer to the time!). You want to reduce them down to a height somewhere between your knee and your hip, cutting just above a bud, don’t worry too much about outward facing etc, as in all likelihood we will be cutting them further down later on.
The biggest enemy of Rose growers is the Black Spot Fungus, which attacks the leaves and often leads to defoliation of the plant in the summer. One of the best methods of battling this enemy is to increase hygiene around your Roses. Clear away all leaf debris from around them, whether it is theirs or from other plants (burn or bin it, do not compost) and keep the bed around them clear until the spring. If your Rose is holding onto any leaves, at this time of year you can pull the remainder off and dispose of them too.
Stop Mowing Lawns With Bulbs!
I personally am someone who mows all year round, if the grass is growing the mower is mowing, albeit at a slightly higher cut and avoiding frosty periods. Because of this I pay great attention to what is happening below the grass where there are spring flowering bulbs planted. I have now seen both Snowdrops and Daffodils beginning to poke their heads through the grass, so now it is time to stop mowing in these areas. While they are below the cut height so won’t be decapitated, they are still at risk of trampling and wheel damage.
Autumn / Winter is the best time to take Hardwood cuttings, these cuttings are taken (usually) from deciduous trees / shrubs and climbers (including Roses) and are taken from this year’s growth that has hardened off. The full list of what can be grown from Hardwood cuttings will be available in books or online, but I find the best way to find out is to just try it, they take up very little space, are very easy and very rewarding.
So, how do I do it?
- Choose nice healthy looking (Ideally straight) shoots that have grown this year and cut them off low in the plant.
- Starting from the bottom, cut them into sections around 8 inches long, cutting flat just below a bud at the bottom, and sloped just above a bud (sloping away from it) at the top. I usually throw away the very top piece as this is often softwood.
- Find a sheltered corner of the garden with fairly loose soil (fork if necessary) and carefully insert the cuttings (flat end down) so that only the top third is above the soil. Firm around the cuttings with your heel.
- You can also strike them in pots, this is what Long Toms are designed for. Fill the pot with a gritty compost and store somewhere sheltered such as a cold frame.
- Hormone Rooting Powder is an optional extra, I personally don’t use it, but many swear by it, follow instructions on packet.
- Lightly water in and monitor moisture levels throughout the summer. Water when necessary.
- By the following autumn they should have produced a good amount of roots and some new shoots, they can now be carefully dug up and moved or potted on.
Plant of the moment!
A joyful little evergreen shrub, the lovely vibrant golden new foliage of this compact shrub really stands out in the garden. Growing up to 2 foot tall and wide it is perfect for providing structure in the garden all year round, great for pots and can be clipped into a rough topiary shape.
‘Happiness’ likes a sunny – lightly shaded position in full sun or partial shade, it’s happy in most soils, avoiding waterlogged.
'Happiness' is also one of our small varieties. Find it available here.