How to get masses of beautiful blooms

A cascade of roses
A cascade of roses
Now is the time to get to grips with your strawberry bed.

BRIAN KIDD: Strawberry fields forever – but renew them every three years

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I’m often asked to suggest ‘something different’ for the garden. Well, the Victorian gardeners were very clever with ‘weeping’ species as they found that encouraging some plants to weep induced far more flowers and fruit.

So we can make use of this idea, especially if we have fruit which won’t bear any crops. However odd it may seem, the idea all started with rambling roses which are traditionally grown on walls and fences.

It was found that when they were made to ‘weep’ down towards the soil, instead of having roses 20 feet in the air all the branches threw out side shoots and were completely covered with rose blooms.

Now, don’t think you have to go out and buy a special plant.

Have a go at something in the garden which may be a bit too vigorous, something perhaps that you have wondered whether or not to get rid of!

We need several suitable lengths of very thick wire or some flexible thin canes – or, even better, some hazel sticks – about an inch in diameter.

If you can think of something else that can be used, just make sure it won’t be too unsightly.

We now keep on bending the sticks lots of times because they won’t be very flexible. Then insert one end firmly into the soil around the edge of the shrub and the other end into the opposite side to form a kind of hoop over the top.

This is done in several places so that all of the branches can be tied into one of the hoops.

The tying-in is done all through the summer so that all the branches are now pointing towards the surface of the soil. Next year we should see masses of blooms on all the short stems which will emerge from the bent branches.

You may find that the tips of some species may root into the soil. So, if you don’t want this to happen, simply cut off the tips just before they reach the soil.

But, in most instances, gardeners are pleased to be able to give rooted cuttings to other friends. That’s what gardening is all about.

I suggest you have a go using a Queen Elizabeth rose.You’ll be amazed.

Now we can turn to a more practical way of dealing with fruits that won’t produce the goods!

You’ll have noticed that all the best apples are at the top of the tree. Similarly, the best blackberries are always far too high.

It’s simply Murphy’s Law that you’ll either fall off the steps or be tangled up in the blackberry spines when trying to get them.

But no longer! Bend as many branches down as you can whilst they are still flexible, because as the year goes along the wood becomes thicker and it’s more difficult to get those stems to go downwards.

Plums are the most diffcult tree when it comes to guaranteeing fruits. One year there are lots whilst the next year there may be none at all.

We can certainly improve the situation by bending down as many of the branches as possible. This will also be a useful idea as the tree can then be covered over if frosts are imminent at blossom time.

Frost damage to plum blossoms is the cause of most crop failure. Try taking out the spokes of a bicycle wheel and then saw it one place so that it can be put around the outside of the trunk of the plum tree.

Then screw four pegs about six inches long into the cycle wheel and firmly peg it down to within three inches of the soil level. Make loops in baler twine and lasso each of the stems, then tie in the twine to the cycle wheel.