Tie up, deadhead and cane!

The above heading is reflective of the activities you should now be undertaking in your garden as we move towards the back end of summer. Unfortunately when I mention these activities my garden blog tends to be inundated with requests for rude sexual services which have nothing to do with gardening. Cruella (my wife) accused me of doing this deliberately, but I remained dignified and only replied “honi soit qui mal y pense”, she then accused me of swearing at her in Swedish!

Anyway as summer goes on and things flop over – oh my God, there I go again, I think I have developed Tourette’s syndrome – you need to keep on top of the garden. Enough of this, let’s get on with the gardening .

8th August 2022. Things I have been doing lately:

Tying up various plants. All along your borders and beds your flowers will be at their absolutes best. To keep them this way for as long as possible then you need to deahead every day and use cane and string to keep your plants upright. Now when it comes to string, we gardeners need the right string for the job. To achieve this you need 3 types of string as a minimum. String type 1 (the thinnest) can be used for tying up annuals as it will rot within a year, as will they. String type 2 (referred to as intermediate) can be used for tying in perennials, roses etc as it will last for up to to 5 years and allow the shape you are trying to achieve become set. String type 3 (referred to as heavy) can be used for trees and heavy perennial branches etc as it will last for up to 10 years. The plastic coated wire shown can be used to tie in light stems.

The photo below shows the strings. This photo will form part of my doctoral thesis “String gauges and their uses by type in the twenty first century garden”

Cruella mocked me by saying what type of man has three categories of string. I merely walked away muttering under my breath – a real man

Deadheading. If you want flowers all summer then you need to deadhead daily. But not all flowers are deadheaded in the same way:

Sunflowers. Don’t deadhead sunflowers yet, let the seeds fully form so that you can either use them next year, or let the birds feed on seeds. But you will need to tie them up so that they don’t collapse. Use stout canes to keep them as upright as possible. Keep an eye on the dead flower head and when it has fully died and dried scrape the covering off the top of the flower and underneath will be the seeds packed tightly together. Using your thumb, see if you can remove one or two seeds easily; if you cannot then leave it a week or so until the seeds are loose.

The first photo below shows my mini sunflowers tied up and waiting for their seeds to be ready. The second photo shows that they are not ready yet. Click on each photo for a larger view.

Cannas. Although canna are favoured because of their lovely large colourful leaves, they can also produce nice flower spikes. When deadheading canna be careful not to cut off the coming flower spike. Because the flower spikes come in twos they often dieback at different times, so do not take off the complete flower head but only the one that is dead. The photo below shows me deadheading the correct flower spike.

Marigolds. I could deadhead my marigolds twice a day and that still wouldn’t be enough. They love this hot weather and they are flowering like crazy. To deadhead marigolds you must be careful not to leave any long bits of stem that not only look unattractive, but could let in disease. With your secateurs move down the stem away from the dead flower head until the next stem bifurcation and cut there. The first photo below shows my lovely marigolds, the others show me mid prune. Click on each photo for a larger view.

Other plants you should be deadheading at the moment include: Dipladenia, Bird of Paradise, Kaffir lilies and any flowering agaves or aloes. See photos below: Click on each photo for a larger view.

Shadowman. Gardening can be a lonely job so I have invented a gardening companion who follows me round all day I call him “shadowman”.We chat about various things as we wander round the garden, but he has to go as soon as the sun goes down; which is the exact opposite of Cruella and her friends who have to hide when the sun comes out. I thought you might like to see a photo.

Pretty cool eh!

Author: spanishgarden

I live in both Spain and the UK and am a very keen gardener. I garden every day and enjoy sharing all the secrets that God allows us to discover in our gardens.

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