Garden Blog - Blog Post

Making the Cut


As usual, I’m behind, but this time with the winter pruning of the roses, which should be finishing around now so I have time to cut the hedges before the birds start settling down and making nests. I’m about half-way through.

Spring is the time of year when garden jobs run into the back of each other and the wet weather this year has kept me inside, delaying me even more. Even in the breaks between the showers, the ground has been too wet to work on and work with. This is also the first year we’ve seen a return of the surface water we had in the winter we moved in, over six years ago now. A year that we had 50% more rain over winter than recent averages then.

The borders have been doing a very good job of soaking up the rainfall and slowing the flow of water through the garden, pooling the excess in the border edges. Despite this the grass still squelches due to the sheer volume of precipitation we’ve had this winter, particularly in February – which set a record as the wettest ever on record in the UK.

In the last few days we have been given a reprieve from the wet weather and I managed to prune the roses that sit under the living room window in a narrow border in front of the front lounge, that faces the front. I even managed to get in a quick trip to the Garden Centre to buy more large tubs of Bonemeal and Growmore so that I could sprinkle this all over that rose bed before finally putting a few inches of compost and rotted manure mix over the top. The final item of this spa-treatment for the roses was to empty two large trugs of water over the bed. The water having accumulated in all that winter rain we’ve had.

I’m expecting a stupendous show from those roses after all that pampering – even though it’s only a once-a-year job. The Banksiae Lutea rose extending across the front of the house (and no doubt extending into the roof space) is already leafing out and I can see countless tiny flower buds developing. I’m really looking forward to that show. Thankfully the Banksiae rose was pruned at the end of last summer.

Madame Alfred Carriére, which starts off against the fence but arches overhead and over the path to grab onto a wire run on the first floor, was also given a prune recently. I have its stems wrapped around my Juliet balcony railings. It has also been given fertiliser, feed and a thick mulch for the coming season.

This now leaves the roses in the main part of the garden that are either wrapped around the two metal arches or wrapped around the three rose towers. These are currently out of reach until the ground dries out more. They’re already coming into leaf though and pruning will probably mean that they flower later, which I don’t mind.

I do mind if it continues to rain though. I keep telling myself that I need to write all the numerous winter/spring maintenance jobs down and when they need to be done so I can plan the work better, spread it out a bit more so there’s not such a rush to get everything done in Spring.

Maybe I’ll do that when it’s raining outside.

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Sunil Patel

I'm Sunil Patel, this is me. I created the Garden at 13 Broom Acres and I open it to visitors. I also bake and write blog posts giving a "behind the scenes" look into what it's like to maintain such a garden.

Visit the blog, then come and visit the garden. We can have a good sit-down, a jolly chinwag and a relaxing cup of tea with a sinfully generous slice of home made cake.

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susan maclean 09/03/2020 - 8:33 pm

I didn’t know you have a Banksia! I love that rose, but there is nowhere in this garden for it (I tell myself!!). That early yellow show is just so worth it. I know what you mean about early spring jobs. My lavender is cut; my clematis are not (oops), and in my kitchen there is a box of eggshells, ready for the glamourous iris which last year had 40 flower stems. I just must protect it, or half of this year’s flower stems will be munched right in the middle. Some weeds have come early, some have not come at all as due to all the storms my top borders have a good covering of beech leaves which I shall be leaving right where they are!

Most of my roses were cut back in October, so not a lot to do with them, just a general shape and tidy. Spring’s on the way!!

Sunil 10/03/2020 - 8:02 am

Hello Mrs Mac, yes, the Banksia is very vigorous and tries to make its way inside the house every year too. It’s the kind of thing you would use to cover a terrace or block of flats. I hadn’t even through of pruning the clematis – they’re out in the garden, which is too wet to walk on at the moment, so they’ll have to wait with the roses (form a line!). Your iris sounds like a stunner!

gardeninacity 14/03/2020 - 11:03 pm

Looks like you’ll have a stupendous rose display before long.

Sunil 17/03/2020 - 7:34 am

I hope so, I still have the other half left to do and it’s getting perilously late. The garden is starting to dry out so soon I won’t have any excuses left.

Jean 06/04/2020 - 1:51 am

Sunil, We had this kind of wet spring last year, and it put me behind for months. I was trying to finish April garden chores in May and May garden chores the first week in July. This year, we experienced an early snowmelt and early spring. I actually got most of the winter pruning done while it was still officially winter. And now that Maine is under a stay-at-home order, I am making great headway on spring cleanup.

Sunil 07/04/2020 - 9:45 am

Hello Jean, similarly, my part time working hours, self-isolation and furlough mean I am steadily ticking the garden jobs off the list earlier than I would have. We’re also noticing that “April Showers” aren’t noticeably happening any more. We’re seeing forecasts for 21+ degrees – for early April! I’ll be making most of the dry sunny weather to get ahead as well.


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