Here's how you can make sure your summer flowers will bloom again

Our delphiniums were very slow to come into bloom this summer but they have been the best we have had in a while.

By Brian Kidd
Tuesday, 6th August 2019, 10:27 am
Updated Friday, 9th August 2019, 5:40 pm
Brian’s loving the delphiniums this year.
Brian’s loving the delphiniums this year.

I planted them with single canes to each flower stem so that the foliage hid the canes.

The little trick is to cut off the top of the canes just below the spire of flowers.

I recently cut back the plants, leaving just two feet of the great foliage.

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The soil has been forked to a depth of only four inches and the plants have been given a good soaking of Maxicrop Complete plant food because we would like some more spikes of blooms in October.

Many herbaceous plants won’t come into bloom again after the first flush of flowers but there are quite a few which will continue to bloom if the plants have all the dead flowers removed.

A very good example is an Erigeron called Elstead Pink and Erigeron Blue Waves which bloomed in June.

They were cut back hard leaving just the rounded shape of foliage, and were given some of the Maxicrop feed.

Today, they are in full bloom again and will continue into autumn as long as the dead flowers are removed regularly.

Herbaceous phlox will also bloom again if the main head of dead flowers cut back down to a side shoot with tiny flower buds.

Again, a good amount of plant food will aid the plants’ regrowth.

I found that something was eating the leaves on one of my hosta plants called Diana.

I went out to have a look after dark and found the little culprits called earwigs.

We are now trapping them by upturning a clay flower pot with rolled up newspaper inside, which is placed on a stick only eight inches tall and sits next to the hosta.

The earwigs eat all night and then crawl into the newspaper which is unfolded in the mornings so they no longer bother us...

It is a bit disappointing to find there are only one or two each day but the hosta hasn’t had any more holes.

But unfortunately, I had another problem.

I found huge rips in the leaves of the ligularia called Desdemona. I thought it couldn’t be slugs or snails because the hedgehogs eat them at night.

I watered the soil and put down three rhubarb leaves on top of each other on the ground alongside the ligularia.

I had a look the following morning and found three large snails.

I don’t like killing snails – they seem to be too beautiful.

Instead, they were taken to a piece of wasteland full of docks three miles from where we live and I am sure they are very happy there.

There is no point in throwing the pesky snails over to your neighbour’s garden because they’re known to have homing instincts and they return.

But hopefully they won't slither home for three miles.

Question time

Q: There is a wasp nest in the back of our shrub border. Is there an easy way to get rid of the wasps? The pest control people want too much money. VB, Copnor.

A: It is not a good idea to tackle this problem yourself for obvious reasons but if you can actually see the nest hole and wait until it’s dark. Then, plonk a whole box of grass mowings over the hole and don’t touch it. The wasps will all be in the nest when it is dark and will die in the nest because they can’t fly through mowings.

Q: Our clematis has been wonderful with more than 100 flowers this year. There are now holes in the leaves but no slugs as we use smashed egg shells to keep them off. We have also looked for caterpillars but there are none. What do you think? FY, Cowplain.

A: This is caused by earwigs. If you read the main article it will advise you on how to trap them.

Jobs for the weekend

■ It’s very important to sow seeds of spring cabbages now. Choose new varieties such as Offenheim 2 or Duncan, both F1 hybrids, which won’t bolt if we have a sudden hot spell next May. The cabbage will be green too, not a slimey yellow.

■ Prune off summer fruiting raspberry canes as soon as they finish fruiting and ensure the area in which they are growing is not allowed to dry out. New canes should be growing out of the ground and will bear next year’s fruit. Tie the new shoots on to wires as soon as they are long enough.

■ Get into the habit of summer pruning apples. Look at the main branches and there will be side shoots growing out of these branches. Cut them back to half their length and this will induce fruiting spurs and a better crop the following year. Try to summer prune every year from now on.

■ Stop watering indoor amaryllis. Put the pot on its side indoors in the sun.