Garden lore

” Many gardeners will agree that hand-weeding is not the terrible drudgery that it is often made out to be. Some people find it a kind of soothing monotony. It leaves their minds free to develop the plot for their next novel or to perfect the brilliant repartee with which they should have encountered a relative’s latest example of unreasonableness.”

The Well Tempered Garden by Christopher Lloyd (1973)

Thwart the wisteria's plans for breaking the spouting

Thwart the wisteria’s plans for breaking the spouting

Blue Sapphire is making quite a good effort at repeat flowering this summer

Blue Sapphire is making quite a good effort at repeat flowering this summer

Summer pruning wisterias

If you have any wisteria, summer prune them now. They are rampant growers and all their soft tendrils will wave around until they find somewhere to anchor themselves. If that somewhere is between weatherboards, the spouting and the barge board, underneath the verandah roofing or similar, all it takes is one season for such growths to thicken, become hard and woody and cause damage. I write from experience. We had to replace a length of split spouting.

Technically, summer pruning of wisteria should be trimming all those new growths back to the sixth leaf bud from the stem though I admit I don’t count the buds when I trim back. Cut with secateurs, stem by stem, not with hedge clippers if you want flowers next season. Winter is the time for the main pruning which shapes the bush. All those growths are then reduced to two buds from the stem. That is where they will flower.

Failure to flower at all in spring is usually a result of incorrect pruning. If you don’t want to prune your wisteria, my advice would be to take it out altogether. Left unpruned for several years, it will become a triffid of scary proportions.

First published in the Waikato Times and reprinted here with their permission.

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