Spring flowers drooping and cascading

helleborous orientalisLast autumn I hacked back an overgrown climbing rose. I had let it run free to see if it would flower more, but it was still heavily overshadowed by my neighbour’s large conifers.

clematis armandii Snowdrift
Clematis armandii ‘Snowdrift’
It is an ongoing problem of gardening that after the first five years of a new planting, serious, annual pruning is needed to keep the more successful specimens to appropriate sizes.

With the rose reduced in size the previously swamped clematis armandii ‘Snowdrift’ has finally started to flower. More of a trickle than a cascade so far.

However, the clematis armandii ‘Appleblossom’, planted at the same time as the ‘Snowdrift’, now cascades down the trellis. The pair make a textbook example of the direct sunlight requirements for most flowering climbers to give a good show.

clematis armandii Appleblossom
Clematis armandii ‘Appleblossom’ in full flow.

On the other hand some plants only require the light of dappled shade to produce a display of delicate, drooping jewels.

pink hellebore flower
A pink jewel.
Helleborus orientalis

Time to prune

Wisteria May 2013If you want the above in early summer then now’s the time to get up the ladder and prune the wisteria. Here we start with a big tangle.

Wisteria Feb 2014

Trace the long wippy growth from last summer back towards the main framework of the plant. Make an angled cut, pruning back to a couple of fat buds leaving a spur of about three or four inches.

A couple of hours later and the winter prune is done. Depending on your soil you may want to beef up last autumn’s mulch with some light, garden compost to promote spring growth. Now leave the rest to nature and hopefully it will develop like this.

Wisteria floribunda after its winter prune.
Wisteria floribunda after its winter prune.