Les’s Patch column

Les Foden.
Les Foden.
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Continuing with July work in the garden, most wisterias should have finished flowering a few weeks ago and the lateral growths will have extended rapidly.

When they are three feet (90cm) or more long they should be cut back to nine-10 inches (23-25.5cm) from the main stem enabling the plant to put all its energy into forming flower buds rather than using some to produce leaves.

A dressing of sulphate of potash at two ounces per square yard will also help to ripen these shoots. Don’t forget that further pruning is needed in the winter.

No one’s garden is perfect. Imagine what a boring occupation gardening would be if this were so.

All gardens need regular adjustments, seasonal updating. Yet now we are faced with a slight difficulty for this is the season when our gardens should be looking their best and certainly at their most full.

But try re-arranging shrubs and herbaceous perennials now and you could end up without plants or shrubs.

Autumn and spring are the times for moving, dividing and replanting, and there is the difficulty. Unfortunately, will you be able to remember, when October or March comes around, exactly where the largest gaps were in a mixed border?

Will you remember then, when the foliage has disappeared, which of those clumps of lupins was in need of dividing?

So what is the answer? Gardeners need a memory jogger. When they take a casual walk around their garden at different times they should have to hand a small note book.

In this the gardener should record the best features of the garden but also the problems to be put right later, making a note of any plants that are wanted for autumn planting to be ordered in advance.

At this time of year all the plants in the garden are making tremendous growth so need feeding regularly. The best way to supply food is by means of liquid fertiliser that can be taken in not only by the roots but also by the leaves.

There are several brands on the market all containing the necessary high potash content needed at this time of year.

I think the best one is phostrogen. This can be applied by watering over the top of the plants with a watering can and is taken in very quickly by the leaves.

Although liquid fertilisers are safe it is best to apply in the evening to avoid scorch caused by droplets of moisture on the leaves being heated by the sun.

Magnolias are better left unpruned, but if needs be mid-summer is the right time. In order to keep a good shape take out one branch at a time back to its base then stand back and see what effect it has had on the shape of the tree. If not quite right remove another branch.