Rose pruning rules - the five minute way

Roses galore

Roses galore

If you haven’t pruned yet, panic not.

Just gather sharp secateurs, pruning saw, some gauntlets and a reckless attitude. If you're unsure, then it pays to be bold rather than tentative; roses really are the big bruisers of the garden and can take a proper beating, so don't be shy.

It's okay to get it wrong! You may lose some flowers, or your bush may be wonky for a bit, but who cares? It'll right itself at some point down the line, and YOU'RE LEARNING

Rush out and chop dead, diseased or dying wood, and anything spindly right down to the base on all your roses, after which, a shrub rose (a bush) simply needs all stems pruned by one third of their height. Try to cut just above a bud, but don't sweat it; your aim should be to get the thing tidy. For climbing roses, remove anything that's not going to play ball when you try to tie it into your framework, so if it's sticking out or too tough to bend to your whims, then chop it. For ramblers (climbing roses that flower only once) then take out a third of the oldest shoots. Hybrid teas (big flowers on single stems), and really overgrown monsters need razing to about 10cm above ground. Treat floribundas (many flowers on single stems) the same way, cutting higher up though, about 30cm above ground.


Finally, give them a feed after pruning with rose fertiliser. They also love a good helping of manure around their roots.


There you go. Now just do it.

Stuff to do in October

...should you be so inclined....

1. Get some bulbs in the ground....or if you don't have any ground, get some planted in a pot. Right now I am layering up crocus, iris, daffs, tulips and alliums..yes, that's december to June loveliness (if the squirrels don't get them first)

2. Plant some wallflowers - lovely groundcover all winter and knock-out scent in the spring. I've bought some plants from a nursery (it really is okay to do're not cheating). Bung them in the ground (or in a pot, why not?) and enjoy.

3. Lastly, one word....Hippeastrum. I know these bulbs are expensive, but it's so worth investing in a few and putting them in pots, say three per month until January for total indoor drama between winter and spring.

Things to do in September

....should you be so inclined:

1. If you have a lawn, then scarify it. This is like brushing you hair when you've been a bit slutty and it's got all matted (i.e. it's a bit painful but thoroughly satisfying). When you've done that, you can aerate it, either by inviting all your friends round for a party in their stilettos (fun) or a garden fork (not such fun).

2. If you have new lavender (see below) and want it to be bodacious then cut it back really quite hard by the end of this month. This way it will sprout from near the base rather than getting all woody and ugly.

3. Tidy up you lazy thing! - it's september and that means out with anything that looks tatty, and in with your bulbs (well, all your bulbs except for tulips, which should wait till November for planting)

Stuff to do in July...

...should you be so inclined (which, frankly, I am NOT) Look, it's summer time capisce? ...and that means: a. SUNBATHING b. PICNICS c. DAYDREAMING WHILST BEES BUZZ

The very most you should be doing is the lovely job of picking yourself a posy every day (and see above)... But if you've got itchy feet, or if the day is dull and you're feeling energetic, here are some July-ish jobs to be getting on with:

1. Mow the lawn, but only if your sward is your pride and joy 2. Sow some biennials to avoid haemorrhaging money on them next year 3. Pull the odd weed (pesky, aren't they?) 4. Water at dusk, when the nicotiana and other evening scented stuff is doing its thing. It's a good idea to have someone nearby who will kiss you (romantically and at regular intervals) during this process.

Things to do in June

....should you be so inclined:

1. Support all the plants that are about to fall over with pea sticks.  If you don't have pea sticks then consider letting them flop - it creates a certain, rather fabulous nonchalance that denotes you are uniquely cool....or you could do as I do and just gather them up to display indoors.

2. Water in the evening or early morning to conserve moisture and be efficient.  If you've got pots, then you're going to need to water twice a day if it's baking hot.

3. Order your tulips for planting in the autumn.  It seems ridiculous to be so organised, but if you want what you want, then you have to beat the rush.

4. Do some hoeing, with your sexy little hand hoe

5. If it's sunny, then be sure to laze around a lot.  The weather might turn any second, so drop everything and enjoy it


Things to do in the garden in May.......

...should you be so inclined:

1. For goodness sake don't work too hard...your garden will always look lovely as long as you are having a lovely time IN it.

2. Mow the lawn (yawn)

2. Plant summer-flowering bulbs, corms and tubers (dahlias, acidanthera, gladioli...the list is endless)

3. Become a regular hoe-er and nuke little weedlings before they take hold.  Buy yourself a nice sexy hand-hoe and a cushion so you can get properly intimate with them

4. Sow salad leaves in any spare patches of ground or in pots

All good things, always,