• Winter is here

Do the Chelsea Chop

Do the Chelsea Chop

Do the Chelsea chop and encourage better flowering from your perennials while reducing the need for staking.

This handy technique is so called because it’s always carried out at roughly the time of the RHS Chelsea Flower Show each year – towards the end of May. Cutting back certain perennials at this time of year encourages them to produce denser, sturdier growth in the summer with many more flowers.

It works best on late-flowering perennials, including sedum, phlox, heleniums, echinacea, anthemis and solidago. Never try Chelsea chopping plants which only flower once, such as iris or peonies, or plants with tall spires as the process shortens their height and you won’t get the effect you want.

Choose a dull day, preferably after rain so that the plants are as plump and full of moisture as possible (if the weather is dry, put the job off for a while). Using shears or secateurs, cut the whole plant back hard, reducing the height by at least a third and as much as a half. This may seem dramatic, but it does the plant a lot of good. It encourages growth that is short and sturdy rather than tall and leggy, so plants need less staking. And best of all it encourages the main stems to branch, producing lots more flowering stems and a better display.

Flowering will be delayed by a week or two, so a modification of the technique which is also less drastic is to cut back just half the stems, leaving the rest long. This means the longer stems flower at the usual time, and the ‘chopped’ stems a few weeks later, staggering flowering and extending your display, too. Finish off by watering your plants well, then just sit back and look forward to double the flower power this summer.

You might also be interested in:

Must-have: a showcase shelf above the couch

A great home trend must have is to have a shelf to use the space above your couch to create a focal point, full of interesting items. Whilst the couch is a place to relax and put your feet up, the space on the wall behind it can be used as a focal point to use the space in the room and decorate it with a current home trend. It’s an especially good idea if you are short on space. Have a read of these tips and ideas to add this great home trend to your living room above the couch.

It's Squirrel Appreciation Day!

It’s Squirrel Appreciation Day so we have put together some facts and tips all about squirrels to help you appreciate them in your garden and local parks. This time of year can be tough for squirrels, just like other garden wildlife as food can be very scarce and the frozen ground means they may not be able to reach their previously buried food. Have a read of these facts and tips to help your local squirrels and enjoy going outside to feed them.

How to maintain your garden tools and equipment?

Maintaining garden tools and equipment is essential to their longevity as they can be expensive to purchase in the first place. So it really does makes a lot of sense to look after them. To make sure they last you for many years to come in the garden they’ll need a good clean, sharpen and oil plus some maintenance as and when needed. Read these tips below to help you keep your garden tool in tip-top condition.

What we can learn from Anne Wareham

Anne Wareham isn’t a ‘conventional’ gardener. In fact, she writes and reports anything other than what you would expect to hear from someone with a beautiful garden in the Welsh borders. Anne can be quick to provoke discussion and challenges thoughts and ideas about gardens and gardening. Self-named as the ‘Bad Tempered Gardener’, here are some points we can learn from Anne, who looks beyond the norm.