Les’s Patch column

Les Foden.
Les Foden.

Time now to examine and replace ties on fruit trees and other trees. After rain and the usual spurt of growth these can become quite tight and can even cut into branches and stems.

It is important also to stake or support tall herbaceous plants against late summer winds and heavy showers.

Make sure chrysanthemums are adequately staked and early varieties disbudded to produce large blooms.

Start taking cuttings of geraniums, fuchsias and penstemons now that they are plentiful and they will root much faster, even outdoors, than they will later on when growth begins to slow down.

Also take cuttings of roses and in particular ramblers and climbers, using the young growths found at the base of the flower trusses.

As these roses finish flowering cut off the deadheads and tie in those long trailing growths which will carry blooms next year.

Also privet, escallonia and berberis cuttings can be rooted using growths about nine to 10 inches (23 to 25cm) long, after first removing the soft tips.

There is no need to strip off the bottom leaves. Take the cuttings with a heel (a slither of bark) and insert in trenches three or four inches (nine or 10cm) deep made by inserting the spade straight down and then taking out another cut at an angle. This gives a triangular-shaped trench with one straight side and one sloping.

Loosen the base with a hand fork, place two or three inches (six or seven cm) of sand into the trench, stand the cuttings up against the straight back, fill in and then soak and firm.

It is also possible to propagate gooseberries and blackcurrants in this way.

This month is a good time to take cuttings of hydrangeas using unflowered growths three or four inches (nine or 10cm) long and inserting them in a rooting medium of peat and sand.

Remove one or two lower leaves and, unlike most other cuttings, they need not be cut at a leaf joint as hydrangeas are internodal cuttings.

Trim up clumps of Alpines such as aubrietias and iberis, reducing them drastically and pulling off the old growths.

Don’t be alarmed at how bare they look because if they are examined closely you will see any amount of new growths.

Similarly with violas. Cut one or two plants right back and these very quickly will make masses of new growths which can be used later as cuttings.