Sunday, 11 September 2011

11.09. Pruning Hydrangeas

Hello, I am still around, just haven’t been here for a while! I just realised I haven’t written on my blog since 1st September, and today it’s the 11th….not sure where all the days have gone, but I have done a lot of things since last time, more about that a bit later. Today we have had a whiff of summer, with 23 degrees and nice sunshine most of the day. It is just calm before the storm, literarily, as the whole of UK is expected an unusual windy weather tomorrow, especially northern England and Scotland. Autumn is definitely here!

I got a bit of gardening done today, I have been terribly behind with tasks in my garden for most of the summer because of my hip replacement operation, and it is starting to show. One job I have been meaning to do for a long time is to prune this Hydrangea, Blue Wave. It is a lovely plant and was one of the first I bought for the garden, almost 10 years ago. It came in a 3 litre pot, so it wasn’t that big back then, as you can see it was rather impressive in full flower back in June. What you can’t see from this photo is that the whole plant is propped up with 6 big sticks and lots of coated metal wire! As soon as this hydrangea started flowering this year, the branches became too heavy and they began bending down. By the end of August, most of the branches where almost folded over, and that had triggered new growth in the bend of the branches! Desperate measures were needed…

You see, you are not supposed to need to prune a hydrangea, you just cut off the flower heads, usually early in the winter, or late in the autumn if you can’t stand watching them through the winter….but I think they look quite nice after they have gone off too, like paper tissue flowers. So when cutting off the flower heads, you cut down to the next fat bud – meaning 2 or 3 buds down on each stalk. That’s all it is to it. But after almost 10 years, my hydrangea has taken on gigantic proportions, and with its enormous flower heads the branches just gave up. Today I finally did what I probably should have done in June, I cut it down to half the size! Don’t do this at home! You should not prune a hydrangea in September, but I didn’t really have a choice, as most of the branches had started sending out new shoots in all kinds of strange directions.

Here it is after its massive decrease, but with the same root system intact it will probably not take long before it is back to its former glory. However, I very much doubt that I will get many flowers next spring, although you never know….we’ll just have to see, won’t we. Anyway, if it doesn’t flower much next spring, it will certainly be back to its usual blossoming the year after. And the next task in my garden is to apply the same principle to the other hydrangea I have, called Annabelle. It has also completely folded over during the summer, and needs a substantial pruning, although it is more likely that the Annabelle will flower next spring, as it flowers on new growth, not on old as the Blue Wave does.

Here is another plant in dire need of a pruning! But I can’t prune it until February!! I have written about my Dregea sinensis before, and as much as I love this highly scented plant which is still flowering, it is now turning into a bit of a monster. The plant covers the opening on both sides in such a way that I have to crouch down to get through, and it feels almost like a short tunnel going through the arch. If I was to prune it now, even just jut of the stray branches here and there, it would set off a stream of white, sticky sap that itches if it hits your skin and stains clothes, and looks very unsightly if it drips on paving and the path. So this monster is not getting the chop; it will be left alone until February. 

Just to remind my readers what the Dregea looked like only 4 months ago, after I had pruned it back in January, this photo was taken on 11th May, exactly 4 months ago. Amazing that this plant, or plants to be correct, there are two of them, one on each side growing up and meeting in the middle – but even so, amazing how these two plants can grow in just 4 months! Well, these two plants are getting a serious chopping, just not right now, but come January or February they will!

OK, enough about gardening for today, let me tell you what I have done the last week, since I haven’t been taking photographs and not been working in my garden. I have been giving my web-site a much needed refurbishment :-) It is an ongoing process and will take some time to get through all the sections; my web-site is huge! However, I don’t intend to give every section, about 20, a facelift, as many of them are old and only kept as mementoes. Only the sections I actively update and add to will be upgraded eventually. I have started with making a new logo for my web-site, Graphicality, and the new logo will eventually be implemented on all the sections where it appears. But again, the old sections where I no longer add new material will be kept as they are. You can see THE NEW WELCOME SCREEN here, then just follow the link to enter the web-site to see the menupage where you can go to all the different sections.

I have made a new section on my web-site dedicated to my cat :-) After all the pictures and videos appearing here on my blog I thought I might need a space where I could keep them all together so it would be easier to find them. You can SEE THE CAT SECTION here.

It is getting late, the wind is howling outside, it feels like a late November storm is brewing. Summer is definitely over! I better go and find my bed, until next time; take care :-)

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