AS FEATURED IN THE EAST ANGLIAN DAILY TIMES
You've done the Chelsea Chop, the Derby Day Box Clip, the Jitterbug Jive and now it's time for the Hampton Hack (I might be confused on one of the above ...).
So named because it takes place at a similar time to the Hampton Court Flower Show (and because no one could think of anything alliterative to tie it to Wimbledon), this involves cutting back shrubs and perennials to encourage a fresh flush of flowers, in the case of Penstemon and woody-stemmed Salvias - such as Hot Lips - by reducing them by half.
If you are heading off on holidays do your summer 'hack' before you go away, so you can return to lovely regrowth and miss the alarming-gaps-where-a-glorious-floral-display-use-to-be stage. It is particularly worth doing to anything growing in pots, as the less plant there is on top, the less water the roots need to find.
My holidays, to the eternal chagrin of my other half, always include at least one whip round a nursery or plant stall to see what ‘the competition’ is up to.
On local days out, this tends to involve bumping into our own plants, because hanging basket supremo Angela seems to have made beautiful displays for every other pub, hotel and house in east Suffolk, and because Katie’s Garden plants are sold at a number of tourist hotspots, among them Snape Maltings, Alder Carr, Bridge Farm Plants in Monks Eleigh, and Grange Farm Shop in Hasketon, all of which have recently expanded their plant sale areas.
This year, servicing ‘The Empire,’ as we fondly refer to it, has needed two shiny new delivery vans and the hiring of assistants to help gather up plants for Jackie and Christine, who now have more time to spend out and about making enticing displays at our outlets.
Late-potted batches of bedding and annuals such as Dahlias, Zonal Geraniums, Cosmos, Dianthus, Nicotianas and Rudbeckias are still going out in the vans and on the nursery, as we like to have fresh varieties for as long as possible – everyone always has “one last space” to fill!
Forever one step ahead, the unstoppable potters of Katie’s Garden are now potting-on Garden Mums and shrubs ready for autumn, with pansies and violas high on the to-do list.
The perennial potting queue never seems to end, but it does mean there is always something newly flowering to go out to ‘The Empire’!
Gardening advice by Catherine McMillan
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