Understanding the Garden seasons(10 Posts)
Hello, I am without doubt a new gardener. I have only experimented with pots and summer bedding until this year, but want to create a haven of "year round interest " in my small postage stamp garden.
However, I am confused with garden season terminology -
I am based in the South, but nearish London (climate - wise)
Prune/ cut back
- Late winter before spring foliage emerges (when is that please?)
A specific month for what constitutes late winter would be great as in the past I have not gone near my back (postage stamp) garden except to look at whether the fence is still there after winds.
I assume the pruning question was an example? Pruning, sowing, planting and harvesting are all very variable. 'Late winter' could be between January and March depending on your location. Nearish London = more likely Jan. Some plants need pruning before the sap rises or they can 'bleed' (to death) - especially grapevines. Or the plant might just waste energy producing shoots you will get rid of. So watch for 'spring foliage' emerging. As soon as I see new shoots on my various Clematis viticellas I prune them to about 18" (even Monty doesn't do metric). The position in the garden can affect the timing of this growth - sunny wall, slightly shaded by hedge etc. I try to wait until the worst of the frosts are over though. It will change from year to year depending on the weather so difficult to be specific - it's all part of the trial and error process of understanding your garden. We're all still learning!
Pruning depends on three things. What type of plant, when it flowers, and what you want to achieve.
With a new garden, it is a good idea to wait and see when your shrubs flower before deciding when to prune. If in doubt don't. More harm is done by over pruning than by leaving things alone.
If things look like they are getting out of hand you can either tie them back or prune quite lightly, this is taking off about a third.
Late winter pruning is open to interpretation. For roses it would mean November, for other plants Like some clematis and some honeysuckle it means February.
If you know what shrubs you have or if you can describe them, we may be able to guide you further. Hope I have not confused you.
I haven't had time to read all this yet - but you cannot set exact timetables, just as in parenting children do not grow up according to the book.
I'll come back sometime.
Thank you for all the responses.
I wrote a long reply, which I lost when I changed screens to look up a plant!
I will be back again to ask more (specific) questions soon.
"late winter" depends on the weather a bit but also daylight hours imo
So dec-feb when the days are
If a very mild winter, prune nov/dec if a terrible frosty winter prune late feb
But look at the plants and trees in your garden. If buds are emerging then spring foliage may be about to unfurl and some springs come early esp in the sheltered sarfeast!
Love the "sarfeast" funnyperson, having done most of my gardening there. Fond memories.
It's taken me years, nearly ten actually, to get to grips with Australian seasons. I can now walk down the road and sagely nod at the late-flowering of strelizia, recognising, this year at least, that winter has been longer. For ages it was utterly mystifying.
It can especially be mystifying in sheltered London gardens where the gardens back onto each other and there is little wind because the tall period housing provides shelter. In those gardens, there is often growth all through the winter!
I would therefore prune Novemberish and plant winter flowering clematis, mahonia, winter jasmine, camellia sasanqua, hellebores and early spring bulbs such as snowdrops, crocuses, for a January/February garden!
So agree about London gardens: a whole micro-climate.
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