Thursday 21 February 2013

Pruning - from privet to philadelphus

Weds 6th Feb
Weather: Horrible biting wind again. Moments of sun but not long lasting.

Ligustrum quihoui in the Walled Garden pruned
Privet at Dixter is grown like no other that I have ever seen. Actually cultivated for its flowers rather than as bog standard hedging plant. They have long elegant flowering stems that stick out like mad hair. These bear panicles of white flowers that weighs the stems down, causing them to arch gracefully.

We cut out all the stems that have flowered on old stems. Flowering stems are usually distinguishable because they split into many other offshoot stems, and if lucky confirmed by the telltale dried fruit or flowers. Some of the offshoots may turn into a strong flowering stem. Four or five stems usually come from a 'knuckle'. For this one we naturally thinned it out by taking out all flowered stems to the knuckle, but it is usually best to take out each flowered stem to the next flowering stem if possible to be safe, and then thin it out at the end. It worked out for us in this instance as there was a lot of material and it was hard to reach. Not a rule of thumb, but one might prune two out of five stems per knuckle, but it was better to confirm or do it by eye.

Ligustrum quihoui pruned in the long border

For a picture of the Ligustrum in flower follow here.

Philadelphus in the Walled Garden

After this, we moved onto some orange blossoms Philadephus including a large one in the Walled Garden next to the privet, and three in the High Garden, one obscured by an Abelia which Fergus thinks is the best one in the garden, one was variegated and one of them was a Philadelphus delavayi 'Calvescens'These followed similar principles. We didn't try and take out every crossing branch but just to open out the structure more. Some were vigorous and had lots of stems, whilst others were quite old and minimal in growth that Fergus had been trying to bring back, so we only gave these a light touch, enough to help regenerate it but not to really manipulate/ shape it.

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