I know “deadhead and cutback”sounds like the employers of Bob Cratchit before he worked for Scrooge, but really it’s just the way to get two gardens in one Summer. If like most people you let your garden flower once and then just leave it alone, then you are missing out on a whole new flowering which is just like having two gardens. Now is the time to deadhead everything and cutback perennials and off it will all go again.
19th July. Things I have been doing lately:
🌿 Cutting back Lavender. Most people think that once Lavender has flowered then that is it. But no, if you cut it back you will get another full flush of flowering, and just as importantly you will get lovely flower heads which you can dry and place in your wardrobe to smell lovely all Winter. Or as Cruella (my wife) does to use in the spell of your choice.
The first two photos below show the Lavender near my water feature which have flowered and will stay like this if not cutback. When cutting back Lavender try not to go into new wood, just go to the bottom of the flowering stem and cut there. The third photo shows where to cut. Finally, and best of all store the cut flower stems in a plastic bag for a few days and let them dry in the Sun. once they are fully dry place them in small muslin bags and hang them in your wardrobe. If you haven’t got muslin bags then cut up an old pair of tights (but don’t tell Cruella, I have convinced her we have moths).
🌺 Cutting back the seed pods of Pink Trumpet Vine. Lots of us have Pink Trumpet Vine in our gardens here in Campoverde. It likes the soil and it loves the climate. Although Pink Trumpet flowers profusely it will try and set its seed pods early if you let it. Once it begins to set seed then it will divert all its energy into this rather than continuing to flower. The photo below shows the distinctive and lovely seed pods hanging from one of my Pink Trumpet Vine. You need to cut these off now and the plant will continue to flower all Summer. I tend to leave the seed pods from late October as they make a nice Autumn feature. But now you must cut them back.
✂️ Cutting back Bird of Paradise. To be honest you shouldn’t really cut back Strelitzia in the Summer, but I just like to tidy it up a bit. The first photo below shows my Bird of Paradise looking a bit scruffy. When I prune it in the Winter I cut back the flowering stems to a joint. But when I am tidying up I take the cut right to the bottom and take the full stem out. The first photo shows the plant before it’s tidy up, whilst the second shows it post the cut back. Can you see the difference? No me neither, I am obviously wasting my time here.
🌳 Cutting back potted Standards. If like me you have standards in pots whether it be Roses, Lantana or any of the other plants that are shown as Standards in Spain, then you now need to shape them up a bit. During June to August your standards will put on lots of leaf and flower, which would be fine if they were in the ground, but in pots they cannot get their roots down deep enough and therefore are constantly crying out for water. If you don’t want to end up with the arm length of a Gorilla from going backward and and forwards with heavy watering cans, then now is the time to reshape them.
I have two Standards which sit in large pots inside the gates of my swimming pool. In Winter I reshape them to tight “lollipops”, but in the Summer I let them expand and flower. By reshaping them now, they will continue to flower right into October and beyond.
The first photo below shows one of my poor Standards crying out for water. The second shows it reshaped with just about a third taken off. Finally you can see both reshaped standards sitting proudly outside the gates, within a week they will be back in full flower.
🧛♀️ Cruella is in her counting house. We regularly raise money for “good causes” in our village and we entrust Cruella with counting all the loose change and then banking it. When I confronted her the other day about where she finds the money for her huge range of bikinis and matching nail varnish; all I got was the gleeful look you can see in the photo below.