The Sunday Gardener's Blog

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  1. The brightly coloured spring flowers of Erysimum cheiri Cheiranthus also kno subtle shades of Erysimum

     One of the things I like about gardening is looking forward to the next season, the next year. As we slide into autumn, it is the time when plants and spring bulbs are being chosen for next year's display. Wall flowers, latin name Erysimum really pack a punch and have to be one of the sweetest scented flowers in the garden, up there with Lilies and Roses. Wall flowers are easy to grow, requiring a sunny spot and well drained soil. Wall flowers are spring-flowering and look great with the spring flowering bulbs. It is easy to imagine the bright red Wallflower illustrated left, which is E. cheiri Cheiranthus with some bold Orange Tulips and left the subtle shades with blues of Hyacinth or pale pink Tulips.

    September is an ideal time to plant Wallflowers which can be bought as smaller plants for growing on over the Autumn to spring and so more cheaply than the fully grown plants next spring. Be sure to check which variety to buy; the biennial types have scent, the perennial variety which is usually Bowles's Mauve does not. More tips on growing Wallflowers. 


  2. Leafy wisteria before summer pruning Trimmed down wisteria after summer prune

    July and early August are the best times to give the Wisteria it's summer prune. Over the summer months the Wisteria has put on a lot of vigorous growth and it needs a good prune . This prune needs to take off long wippy growth, and where the Wisteria has outgrown its allotted space. In the image it is impinging on the windows and needs cutting back.

    The other reason for pruning Wisteria in the summer is to ensure it keeps flowering. The pruning regime, Winter and Summer is an intrinsic part of the routine to ensure it flowers well.

    These quick before and after images show just how much Wisteria can be happily cut back. Advise on growing and pruning Wisteria, video advise on how to make Wisteria flower including the summer prune, and a reminder how lovely the Wisteria looked earlier in the year.


  3. Watchful eagle Chariot in wild flower meadow

    There is much to see at this lovely garden which includes some interesting sculptures  featured in the garden. Illustrated above is a watchful Eagle, and in the wild meadow, a magnificent chariot sculpture. 

    Mount Pleasant has lots of colourful zingy borders full of herbaceous planting with a great range of plants and colour. By contrast, it also has several attractive water features, creating a tranquil oasis with waterfalls and lilies. Walking around the garden there is an abundance of butterflies attracted to the varied planting, and it's buzzing with bees.

    An impressive feature is the the wildflower meadow which was in bloom, although the owner, Dave Darlington, told us that in previous years with the benefit of different weather, the meadow had flowered better. Still, this year with the drought we are lucky to have flowers and it looked pretty good to me. 

    There are 10 acres of gardens to see, which are carefully laid out so that as you walk around you twist and turn on the paths to find something of interest, a further garden, a pond, a Japanese garden, bog garden and dotted all around interesting sculptures. Much of the garden is hidden from view until you walk around and explore it. 

    There is so much to recommend the visitor to Mount pleasant gardens. Personally, I really liked the varied planting, large wildflower meadow and all the sculptures which together make for a very interesting garden.

    restful pond butterfly on yellow flower
    deer Sculpture in wildflower meadow
    varied border



  4. deadheading-310-x-240

    Dead heading is important to get the maximum number of flowers and flowering time from a plant.


    The purpose of most plants, perennials and annuals, is to reproduce. Plants reproduce by producing flowers which become seeds which are shed and dispersed at which point the cycle is complete. To encourage a plant to keep flowering, or to produce a second flush of  flowers, remove the spent flower so no seed is produced and the plant will strive to produce another flower. 

    Plants varying in how sensitive they are to dead heading, in terms of producing more flowers. Some plants, such as Clematis Crystal fountain, if deadheaded, may produce a second flush of flowers. For other plants, such as Sweet Peas, hardy Geraniums, and Roses, dead heading is vital to keep the plant flowering all summer long. Having explained this to a friend recently, she replied, "I did wonder why my sweet peas stopped flowering!" She didn't appreciate how important this simple task is for the continuance of flowers and a good summer display. 

    Head heading is also very important for bedding plants to keep them flowering. If they are not deadheaded, the flowers will become less and less, and the plant leggy and will soon go over. With a little care most bedding plants should flower for weeks if not months. 

    Plant such as hardy geraniums, common name, Cranesbill, can be very time consuming to dead head. The image left is of the dead flower heads removed from a hardy Geranium in one session. If it become too much, an alternative  with Cranesbill, Achillea mollis is to sheer the plant close to ground level and if done early enough in the growing season, it may produce a second flush of flowers. Doing this will certainly produce fresh green foliage if the plant is looking tired.

    If you are looking to dead head flowers with a single flower spike such as Delphinium, Digitalis (Foxglove) Salvia, just remove the spent  spike and sometimes the plant will reward with a smaller second flush alongside.