Les’s Patch: Ways to look after your wisteria

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Let’s continue with our July work in the garden.

Most wisterias finished flowering a few weeks ago and the lateral growths will have extended rapidly.

Then they are three foot (90cm) or more long they should be cut back to nine-10 inches (23cm) from the main stem and the plant can 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. At this time of year all the plants in the garden are making tremendous growth so need a feed on a regular basis.

The best way to supply this 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 them in the evening to avoid scorch caused by droplets of moisture on the leaves being heated by the sun.

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 if you wish. This is the season when gardens should be looking at their best and certainly at their fullest.

But if you try to re-arrange shrubs and herbaceous perennials now you could finish up without plants or shrubs.

Autumn and spring is the time for moving, dividing and replanting and therein lies the problem.

It is difficult to recall, in either October or March, where the largest gaps occurred in the summer in the mixed border. Could you remember, when the foliage has disappeared, which of the clumps of lupins was in need of dividing?

When you take a casual walk around the garden at different times keep a notebook with you. Record the best features and the problems which can be put right later. Make a note of any plants that you may require for autumn planting as it makes sense to order in advance. Nurseries only stock limited supplies so make a point of pouncing as soon as catalogues appear.

As the main crop of onions being to flop over, which is a natural process, don’t attempt to bend them or the leaves will be bruised allowing fungus diseases to enter the leaves and spread to the onions.

Be sure to wire hanging baskets to the brackets to avoid theft and make sure there are secure locks on sheds, especially on allotments.

Don’t water plants in the garden in full sunshine. The watering should be done in the evening when the sun has moved off the garden.

It is essential to keep air moving in the greenhouse otherwise fungus diseases will become a problem. Leave the top vents open a little at night and the door slightly ajar, unless, of course, the night is very cold.

To protect tender, newly planted seedlings use a plastic collar cut from the body of an empty bottle. This acts as a draught excluder and a slug and snail barrier. It is possible to cut at lease three collars from a two litre bottle.