Autumn pruning

This morning, my son and I had a nice time pruning my buddleia and hydrangeas.  Now that we are moving into Autumn, it’s really time to give the garden a good tidy up – realistically, this will take me a few goes before I am happy.

Hydrangea - this one is still quite pretty
Hydrangea – this one is still quite pretty

I always aim to just go in and give everything a really good hack but if something is still looking okay, I’ll often leave it.  Today, I pretty much only took the flowerheads that had gone properly brown and left the ones that, while not at their best, are still quite pretty.  The buddleia are far more rampant than the hydrangeas – these I did give quite a hard prune.

I know that both hydrangeas and buddleia are meant to be rather vulgar plants (well, in the UK anyway – possibly because they do really well here) but I love them.  I planted both around this time last year with the aim of filling a stepped bed that had become available for planting after some building work we’d had done.  I mainly planted “paniculata” (the ones with pointy flowers) and “quercifolia” (oak-leaved) hydrangeas but also gave Strong Annabelle a nice, central spot.

 The three buddleia I planted had red, white and dark purple flowers (I think the last is called “black knight”).  I know someone who pulls buddleia out as soon as she finds one in the garden but I think anything that butterflies like so much must be a good thing.

Perriwinkle
Periwinkle

When I’m pruning, I also pull up weeds, uncovering the plants that I actually want.  I planted this periwinkle to give some groundcover and compete with the weeds but it has rather been taken over – I hope that it is hardy enough to survive.  I planted it elsewhere in the garden with the aim of out-competing the dreaded winter flowering heliotrope and the stinging nettles but it really had no chance whatsoever.

One thing I did notice is that my ornamental cabbage has been entirely eaten by slugs.

Only the stalk is left
Only the stalk is left
Pity, it was a lovely plant
Pity, it was a lovely plant

It’s a pity but at least I now know that it is pointless planting cabbages here (rather like hostas).  I did have a go at cutting back the giant, mutant brambles that are threatening to take over but gave up after I got repeatedly spiked, much to my son’s annoyance.

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