Every year, for the weeks and months before the garden opening, I am focused on getting the garden ready to meet its public.  The opening is a wonderful opportunity to make sure that everything in the garden is looking as good as it possibly can be on that weekend.  The downside of this is that a lot of other things in life are put on hold.  So, when the opening is over, my thoughts tend to move on to other important things that have been neglected.  This means that the garden tends to get on with things on its own in June.  Don’t get me wrong, I don’t avoid the garden.  I mow the grass, water plants and dead-head and prune where necessary, I just don’t have the garden at the fore front of my mind.  Now, that period is over for this year and I am back to thinking about the garden again.

NGS visitors 2013

NGS visitors 2013

Before I move on though, I thought you might like a quick update on the opening.  It was a lovely sunny weekend and we made over £200 for the NGS Charities.  I had been concerned that despite the dismal, cold weather we had this Spring, some visitors might have expected us to magically avoid all of it and have a garden with the plants that would normally be in flower in the first weekend of June.  Thankfully I was totally wrong.  People really appreciated the chance to see the Wisteria in all its glory :).

Certainly, over the years, I have come to learn that a different group of plants are in flower each time.  This highlights how it is impossible to plan one’s flowering for a particular time of year.  Yes, you can think that certain plants will be at their best, but you certainly can’t rely on that.  Particularly in a small garden, it is best to plan for a succession of flowering.In larger gardens, it may be practical to walk past areas not at their best, but in the size of garden that many of us have these days, every inch of space has to work hard!

We had a number of visitors making return visits, which was particularly gratifying.  This year, we had three canine visitors, but they were not necessarily as interested in the garden as their humans.  However, Anya was overjoyed to meet even more canine friends.

As soon as the opening was over, I did some major pruning in the hope that it wasn’t too late and that there would be some regrowth before next year.  We will just have to wait and see………………

I waited a few days to do my major wisteria prune this year and I am really glad I did so.  We had arranged to have solar panels fitted and when I saw the scaffolding going up, I realised that this would be a really easy way of doing the pruning.  There would be no need to keep repositioning the ladder (which is not an easy task) – I could reach the whole of my wisteria from the first layer of the scaffolding.

Imagine my sadness when the workmen went up a level and, having established a platform for the solar guys, removed the boards at the level I needed for my pruning.  Fortunately, they had to come back the next day and so offered to bring some more boards for me :).

Scaffolding makes Wisteria pruning very easy

I have never pruned the wisteria so easily.  The whole job was done in two 30 min sessions.  There was a slight downside though –  I suffer from vertigo sometimes and getting on the ladder to come down was not an easy thing to do!

There were only two shoots that had managed to get themselves so embedded in the house that they did not come away easily.  Fortunately, there was a workman on the upper level who quickly solved my problem.

Next year, I will definitely be looking into the cost of putting up scaffolding to do the job again.

For some reason it is only after Christmas that the Wisteria seems to call me for its winter prune.  Before that, it just seems to be doing fine and then after the holiday, it suddenly seems in dire need of a serious prune.  As many of you will know, I usually do (or at least start) the job on New Year’s Day, but this year the weather was so wet and gloomy that I only started on the job today.

If you have a wisteria to prune and are not confident as to how to do it, take a look at the video I did of the process last year.  Some friends of mine watched the video last year and after pruning their wisteria, had blooms on it for the first time last spring.  I can’t promise that this will happen for you as the plant has to be mature enough to flower, but if lack of pruning was the cause for few or no flowers, then the video should help.  Even if the plant isn’t ready to flower yet, pruning is important in establishing a framework for the future.

Wisteria Knot

If you don’t get the structure right from the beginning then you can get congestion points or “knots”.  Here a side shoot has grown and forced itself behind a main stem.  This has created a very congested area where it is virtually impossible to get in to remove material.  In previous years, I have pruned as much as I could, but the problem just gets worse as each year even more shoots make the problem worse.

This year, I will prune all around the area to give myself as much visibility as possible.  I will not worry about the three bud principle as I am not trying to get flowers here, but rather to resolve the congestion.  I will then take my pruning saw to the major offenders and hopefully that will sort the issue out.

Hopefully this will be in the next week or two and I will post after the job is done to let you see the results.