Star Q&A: Raymond Blanc

Round & About

Gardening

Liz Nicholls asks star chef Raymond Blanc about feeding the soul in isolation, finding your calling & his surprising favourite foodstuff…

Q. Many of us parents have been home schooling, or stressing about home schooling over the last few months… Being self-taught, do you have any encouraging words about how youngsters can find their calling, school or no school? “The key is to find your passion and follow it. I am self-taught in the sense that I didn’t ‘study’ my craft but I did ‘learn’ my craft from the best. This includes my maman who taught me so much as a child about taking the best local, seasonal ingredients and turning them into wonderful, hearty, family dishes. I learnt from great chefs who I worked under – I paid attention, I practised, I pushed forward and made my own way into a world that inspired me so much.”

Q. Your childhood sounds idyllic. What’s one thing parents can do to nurture their children’s love of food? “There is nothing that will inspire children more or make them want to try new tastes and textures than to have been part of the creative process of preparing and cooking the dishes. To this day certain dishes like a simple and delicious apple tart evoke such strong and joyous childhood memories of being in the French country kitchen, cooking with my mother.”

Q. Is there anything you don’t eat or drink? “I do all I can to avoid processed food. I once bought a processed loaf and could not believe that after two weeks there was no mould on it! In France, every little village has a boulangerie and the French buy fresh bread sometimes three times a day. Today there are a wealth of wonderful artisan food producers in the UK and they must be supported.”

Q. What’s the one food or drink that you just couldn’t do without? “Not a food I can’t do without but one I have only recently discovered – brown sauce! Yes, who would imagine a Frenchman loving the humble brown sauce. I had been Living in England for almost 40 years when one day a friend offered me a bacon butty with brown sauce. I can tell you now, it was a revelation. I cannot believe I waited so long!

Q. What’s the most useful kitchen gadget or kit no kitchen should be without? “I think most chefs would agree when I say a great set of kitchen knives. Having the correct sharp knife for each and every task in the kitchen will make everything so much easier and so much more enjoyable. Good knives are easy to handle, they are well balanced and, looked after properly, can last you a lifetime.. Another piece of kit I love is my Kenwood Chef kitchen mixer. I’ve used these machines for over 30 years, in my kitchens and cookery school, and the precision and durability is fantastic.”

Q. We’re supporting our hospitality heroes – how important it is this industry? And do you have any words of solidarity for your fellow hospitality heroes? “The UK hospitality industry employs over 3 million people, many of them just starting out on the career ladder – young, eager and full of high hopes and expectation. For them, and for the whole of the hospitality sector I say try and stay strong. It has been such a hard year but we are all in this together and we know that once this if over our restaurants, pubs, hotels will be the first places people will want to visit to reclaim some normality and joy. We live to deliver those special moments of magic and will be back to doing what we do best very soon.”

Q. What one piece of advice would you give to anyone wanting to start out as a chef? “One route is via apprenticeships. There are very many excellent apprenticeships that will give you a superb introduction to commercial kitchens. We run them at both Le Manoir and at Brasserie Blanc and can take someone with basic skills, give them the best training they could hope for and set them up for a successful career with no limits. Some of the best known chefs in the UK started this way, including Michael Caines and Ollie Dabbous who were both apprentices at my Le Manor!”

Q. How have you coped throughout the last year & what have been your go-to sanity savers? “I was at home, and isolated from most of my family – as well as my team of chefs at Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons and Brasserie Blanc. My way of keeping sane was to cook and cook! I chose simple dishes that evoked happy memories and provided the connection to those who I missed so much. I used ingredients that were easily-available and needed only basic kitchen equipment and out of this came the inspiration for my new television series and book Simply Raymond.”

Q. Who would be your five dream dinner party guests, living or dead, real or fictional? “Other than friends or family, of course, what could be better, I think it would be amazing to have one big table with all the great chefs I have been lucky enough to train over the years. What great things they could teach me now.”

Q. Like me, you eat regularly at Brasserie Blanc… What are your favourite dishes on the menu? “Yes, I live very close to our Brasserie Blanc in Oxford so I am in there at least once a week. I help to create the seasonally changing menu with our Executive Chef Clive Fretwell who learned his craft under me at Le Manoir – we have worked together for over 30 years now – amazing! I know all of the dishes very well, every season I have a new favourite but some dishes are classics and stay on the menu throughout, including our very special cheese soufflé. I enjoy this as a starter but also on its own for a light lunch – it is so incredibly light in texture that you can almost imagine it is calorie-free!”

Q. What other exciting plans do you have on the horizon? “I currently have the new television series Simply Raymond Blanc running on ITV on Saturdays mornings. This will be repeated over the summer on weekday evenings so if you have missed any of them don’t worry! My new recipe book is also coming out any day now – Simply Raymond. Like the television series the book is a collection of my favourite, simple home-cooked recipes – nothing fussy or over-complicated. These dishes are the ones that mean the most to me; the ones that connect me to my dearest family and friends.”

Star Q&A: Andy Triggs Hodge

Round & About

Gardening

Three times Olympic rowing gold medallist Andy Triggs Hodge started rowing because he thought it would be fun, now he is sharing that sense of fun through Race The Thames 2021, we chatted to him about his career, the importance of sport and the event taking place in March

How did you get involved in rowing in the first place and why, what was it that attracted you to it?

I started rowing at Staffordshire Uni – not a typical rowing uni – because a friend suggested it would be fun. I had no idea what that innocent moment would lead to. From there I found something that sparked my imagination, passion and vitality in life as a whole, and I found myself getting better grades, improving my outlook in life, everything seemed to get better when I took up the oar. It really does conform to the saying, ‘the more you put in the more you’ll get out’.

Were you sporty generally?

I was always last to be picked for school sports, football, running, etc. I used to play a bit of rugby in the second row, but I never scored a try or flourished. I challenge everyone who thinks themselves as unathletic, I believe they just haven’t found ‘their’ sport. It’s why giving young people a chance to try all forms of sport through school is key to their development as well-rounded individuals. Sport plays such a big part in life, everyone will be good at one sport, they just have to find it. This also applies to adults.

Lewis Hamilton said winning the seventh F1 world title was beyond his wildest dreams, but that he had ‘secretly dreamt as high as this’, when you got into rowing was that your ‘secret dream’ to get to the top, winning Olympic and World titles?

I started rowing because I enjoyed it, and I’m lucky enough to say that I finished rowing enjoying it. Winning was always and only a by product of the elements I held dearest – self-improvement; enjoyment and being with friends in a common goal, the sacrifice; achieving one’s potential in anything is directly proportional to the sacrifices made.

Do you miss that competitiveness now you’ve retired or are you someone who has to win at everything you do?

Winning has never been a driver for me, since I retired, I replaced my passion to achieve something (which only started when I found rowing) with two things: First, trying to be a good husband, to make up for the time my wife had to put me first despite the hardships in her life, and to my sons who saw a dad who was reduced to the knackered shell of a man each day as I returned from a training programme designed to keep the human body on the red line seven days a week. Secondly, to find a way to create something for the sport I love. Rowing needs new avenues and opportunities as the sport risks becoming obsolete. Now my focus is on Race the Thames – an event for London Youth Rowing. I’m very excited and can’t wait to see how it lands in March!

Tell us about Race the Thames 2021, how can people get involved?

The event is trying to be as open and inclusive as possible, primarily an indoor rowing event, but you can also contribute to the challenge on any indoor machine. There are two challenges for the teams of eight (male, female or mixed) to choose from; the Race the Tidal Thames, 72km completed in a week or a day, and the Race the River Thames, 342km completed in a week. The ‘field of play’ is an amazing online map that we’re going to bring to life in an exciting way. We’re looking for teams of rowers and non rowers alike: friends, families and colleagues, schools and places of work, across gyms, home machines, anywhere people can access a machine, and any time in the week of 19th to 26th March.

And it’s in aid of London Youth Rowing, what’s that all about and who does it help?

Teams choose their own charity to support, as well as LYR with proceeds split 50:50 – I’m really proud to be able to support many charities through this event. LYR supports young people from backgrounds and communities that would make it very difficult for them to find rowing. I had a comfortable up bringing and I discovered rowing through luck and my ‘privilege’, and it still had such an impact on me it’s hard to comprehend. So many young people who are trapped in the hardest walks of life won’t have that chance without LYR, and knowing the benefits it could have on those individuals, not necessarily to achieve Olympic success, but simply to improvements to life by just participating like I had at uni, is motivation enough for me to live through LYR.

The LYR website says one of the aims is to ‘help young people recover their physical and mental health in 2021’ – with the events of 2020 just how important is this for everyone and how can exercise play its part in this?

Sport is so important at many levels, lockdown has decreased sport across the board. Rebuilding that is essential to getting back on track to increase activity in young people and adults alike, but also to recover our sense of wellness and vitality in our communities. I hope Race the Thames is the motivation to our participants to keep our spirits up and the inspiration to those who LYR help to keep striving and pushing forward.

To find out more and get involved visit www.londonyouthrowing.com/event/racethethames2021

Unique moment of time

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Gardening

Professor Stephen Hawking had a fascinating relationship with time and this year Bremont are marking that and honouring the eminent scientist with the launch of its Bremont Hawking watch collection.

The brand has worked with the Hawking family to create something unique and special dedicated to the British scientist whose stud of time enhanced our understanding of the universe and beyond.

The classically styled Bremont Hawking Limited Edition watch features a retrograde seconds hand and grand date and contains four wooden discs inlaid into the back of the watch taken from the desk at which Hawking contemplated the mysteries of the universe.

Only a limited number of watches will be made and all with unique features setting them apart as a truly stunning timepiece.

To complement the men’s watch, Bremont is also releasing a limited edition number of women’s watches, the first it has produced and around the face lies a bezel of diamonds – another first for Bremont.

Bremont co-founder Nick English said of the collection: “Professor Stephen Hawking was arguably one of the most pre-eminent scientists of the last hundred years. We wanted to celebrate this incredible man’s life and his fascinating relationship with time.”

Bremont is an award-winning British company producing beautifully engineered chronometers at their headquarters in Henley.

Garden Re-Leaf Day 2020

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Gardening

Plans are blooming for the ninth annual Garden Re-Leaf Day, which takes place on Friday, 13th March.

This year, Chilton Garden Centre will be the central hub for fundraising activity, as it hosts the fifth Garden Re-Leaf Sponsored Walk and Cycle Challenge.

Members of the gardening sector and hopefully local residents will trek across the Chiltern Hills to raise money for the children’s hospice garden charity, Greenfingers Charity.

Gardeners young and old are invited to take part in fundraising events – either a gentle 10-mile stroll or complete a more challenging 20-mile route through the Chiltern hills. There will also be a Garden Re-Leaf Cycle Challenge for bike enthusiasts. With a 25km route through the Oxfordshire countryside entrants are invited to complete as many rotations around the course as they can throughout the day.

Garden Re-Leaf Day is to celebrate the start of the garden year with fundraising events to raise money for Greenfingers, a charity dedicated to improving the lives of children in hospices through the creation of magical gardens.

In total, 58 Greenfingers gardens have been built since the charity’s creation in 1998 with many being funded by monies from Garden Re-Leaf Day.

In 2017, a new Oxfordshire based garden was opened at Helen & Douglas House, enabling children who call this hospice ‘home’ to find a moment of calm away from the hustle and bustle of daily hospice life. The Kaleidoscope Garden, designed by Oxford garden designer Nicola Wakefield and built by local landscapers GreenArt Garden Design and landscaping, features a colourful and protected garden pavilion that is now being enjoyed by patients, their families, friends, carers and hard-working hospice staff.

Last year in 2019, the charity’s 20th anniversary, four sensory and therapeutic gardens were built in London, The Wirral, Sunderland and St Austell, offering children and families the perfect out door space in which to make memories.

More gardens are in the pipeline to be built this year and this is where Garden Re-Leaf Day comes into its own, raising muchneeded funds.

Linda Petronsdirector of fundraising & communications at Greenfingers said: “Each year, Garden Re-Leaf Day helps over 350 life-limited children to enjoy a quiet place of relaxation and contemplation away from the hustle and bustle of hospice life, something that is so incredibly important for them and their families. 

Being able to do offer this for seriously sick children and their families is only possible due to the fundraising activities that our supporters undertake.

Garden Re-Leaf Day offers a great opportunity to get involved – it’s just one day of the year where you can help make a difference. Whether you raise £10 or £10,000, every single penny counts. We hope that the people of Oxfordshire will get involved on March 13th!”

More info

To find out more about Garden Re-Leaf Day and the work that the Greenfingers charity undertakes visit

Gardening: August

Round & About

Gardening

Many of you will be heading off on hols this month, but with a little bit of planning the garden can still be looking good when you get back.

For those staying at home there’s still plenty to enjoy and get on with in the garden this month. Enjoy these last few weeks of summer.

– Take cuttings of tender perennials such as pelargoniums and penstemons for flowering next year

– Keep watering, feeding and deadheading (I know I say this every month, but it’s so important)

– If we have drought conditions like last year, don’t be tempted to plant anything new until temperatures drop

– To keep rambling roses flowering and under control, thin out one in three of the oldest stems, tie in new shoots and shorten sideshoots by two thirds

– If you’re going away move pots into a shady spot and have a serious dead-heading session before you go. Ask a reliable neighbour to water whilst you’re away, particularly if it’s warm and dry

– An irrigation system on a timer is also  an effective way to keep plants watered in your absence

In the kitchen garden:

• Cordon tomatoes should be ‘stopped’ when they set four trusses outdoors, or six trusses if they’re in the greenhouse – remove the tip of the main stem two leaves above the uppermost truss so that the plant focuses its energy on fruit rather than foliage

• Plant out well rooted strawberry runners in new beds

• Cut out the old canes of summer-fruiting raspberries after fruiting, and tie in new ones

• Lift onions and shallots and dry them off before storing

• Pick herbs regularly to keep the plants productive

• Plant kale and leeks to harvest over the winter

Plants adding a splash of colour to the borders this month:

o Crocosmia ‘Paul’s Best Yellow’
o Echinops ritro ‘Veitch’s Blue’
o Gaura lindheimeri ‘Chiffon’
o Geum ‘Scarlet Tempest’
o Hydrangea aborescens ‘Annabelle’

  Call Hannah Fraser, Bloom Gardens on 07768 041929 or visit Bloom Gardens website

If you're out and about this month with children in tow

these gardens offer something for the whole family:

• Kew Gardens, London – an exciting new children’s garden opened recently, pre-booking online essential

• RHS Garden Wisley, Woking, Surrey – fabulous gardens for the grown-ups, trail and fun activities based on the Very Hungry Caterpillar for the kids

• Sir Harold Hillier Gardens, Romsey, Hants – a tree house, wooden assault course and pond dipping sessions throughout the summer, not forgetting the Centenary border which should be at it’s best around now

• Waterperry Gardens, Wheatley, Oxon – gorgeous borders and fun family trails

Gardening: June joys

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Gardening

June is one of the nicest months of the year. The days are long and the garden is now in full swing. Frosts are a thing of the past, and we can just take time and enjoy. And it’s really important to do just that.

Yes, there’s lots to do out there, but take some time out just to enjoy.
It’s the perfect time to:

– Cut back the foliage from spring bulbs

– Lift and store tulip bulbs for planting out in the autumn

– Dead head all flowering plants regularly. Removing spent flowers stimulates plants to produce new flowers rather than simply setting seed

– Feed sweet peas with a high potash feed, either an off the shelf product or make your own with comfrey leaves

– Sow biennials such as wallflowers for next year

– Prune spring flowering shrubs (including Deutzia, Weigela and Philadelphus), removing spent flowers as well as some of the old stems to ground level to reduce congestion

– Keep an eye out for aphids and spray with a soap-based insecticide if necessary

– Water hanging baskets and other containers daily, preferably with collected rainwater. A weekly feed and regular dead-heading will keep containers blooming right through until autumn

– Hoe regularly to keep on top of the annual weeds

In the kitchen garden
• Harvest early potatoes as soon as they start to flower

• Enjoy the delight of freshly picked home-grown salad

• Pinch out side shoots of cordon tomatoes and support with a cane, tieing in regularly

• Direct sow brassicas and leeks for harvesting over the winter

• Continue successional sowings of carrots, radishes, salad leaves, lettuce, French beans and herbs

Plants looking fabulous now include:

o Clematis Princess Kate
o Convolvulus cneorum
o Cornus kousa var. chinensis
o Lavatera x clementii ‘Barnsley’
o Lophomyrus x ralphii ‘Magic Dragon’
o Rosa Royal Jubilee

Enjoy some other gardens looking their best right now

My recommendations for June are:

Hidcote Manor Garden, Chipping Campden, Glos (National Trust)

Mottisfont, near Romsey, Hants (National Trust)

Stockcross House, near Newbury (National Garden Scheme, 2nd June)

Chieveley Manor, Chieveley, Berks, (National Garden Scheme, 9th June)

Rooksnest, Lambourn Woodlands (National Garden Scheme, 12th June)

  Call Hannah Fraser, Bloom Gardens on 07768 041929 or visit Bloom Gardens website

Gardening: Abundance of colour

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Gardening

Spring is coming to its glorious end, and summer is nearly upon us.

Long sunny days (fingers crossed) and an abundance of colour and produce are just around the corner. Now is the perfect time to:

– Deadhead spring bulbs but resist the temptation to cut back the foliage. The bulbs need the nutrients from the leaves to put on a good show next year

– Divide hostas as they come back into growth

– Tie in sweetpeas, and climbing and rambling roses

– Prune spring flowering shrubs such as Hibiscus and Laurel

– Top dress permanent containers with fresh compost

– Apply weedkiller to lawns and feed with a high nitrogen fertiliser to promote healthy growth

– Lower the blades on your mower to their regular summer-cut height

– Delay mowing newly-sown lawns until they are 3” high, (and raise the mower blades)

– Keep on top of weeds to stop them taking valuable moisture and nutrients from the soil

– Put up netting to protect soft fruit from the birds

– Protect strawberries with straw – placing it around the plants prevents weed growth and protects the berries from wet soil

– Plant up hanging baskets and patio containers with summer bedding such as pelargoniums, fuschias, petunias etc, but keep an eye on the weather forecast and bring them in or protect with fleece if frost is forecast

– Continue successional sowings of annual herbs, beetroots, carrots and radishes

– Direct sow or plant out French beans, courgettes and pumpkins when you’re sure we’ve seen the last of the frosts

Plants looking fabulous now include:

o Allium ‘Purple Sensation’
o Aquilegias
o Ceanothus (Californian lilac)
o Choisya ternata (Mexican orange blossom)
o Early peonies
o Iris sibirica
o Syringa vulgaris (lilac)

Why not visit some gardens for inspiration?

My top picks for May are:

Rookwood Farm House, Stockcross, Newbury (National Garden Scheme, 5th May)

Sandleford Place, Newbury (National Garden Scheme, 12th May)

The Old Mill, Ramsbury, Wiltshire (National Garden Scheme, 19th May)

West Green House, Hartley Wintney, Hants (Wed-Sun, plus Bank Hols)

Chenies Manor House, Bucks (Wed-Thur, plus Tulip Festival on 6th May)

  Call Hannah Fraser, Bloom Gardens on 07768 041929 or visit Bloom Gardens website

April flowers

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Gardening

I absolutely love this time of year. The countryside is awash with daffodils, tulips are starting to flower and glorious summer days in the garden really are just around the corner.

Now is the perfect time to:

– Prune shrubs including buddlejas, hebes, mop head hydrangeas, hypericums and winter flowering honeysuckles. Always start by removing any branches which are dead, damaged, diseased or crossing other branches. Established shrubs can be hard pruned to control size

– Direct sow hardy annuals such as marigolds, nigella, poppies, ammi, cerinthe and nasturtiums for lots of summer colour. It’s also your last chance to sow sweet peas

– Beetroot, broad beans, brassicas, onions, parnsips, salad leaves and spinach can all be sown now. Sow little and often for harvesting throughout the year. If you can’t decide which cultivars to choose, opt for the ones with ‘AGM’ after the name.

– Plant second early potatoes by the middle of the month, and maincrops by the end

– Plant snowdrops ‘in the green’

– Protect plants from slugs and snails which are out in force now. There are several ways to control them: beer traps, mulching with grit, or simply by being vigilant and removing them. If you decide to use slug pellets go for the ones based onferrous phosphate rather than metaldehyde to protect wildlife. Apply sparingly

– Create a new lawn by seeding or turfing

– Green up existing lawns by scarifying, aerating, feeding and weeding

– Start mowing regularly

– Apply a general fertiliser such as Vitax Q4 to your borders to give both edible and ornamental plants a nutritional boost

– Protect fruit blossom from late frosts with horticultural fleece

Plants looking particularly good now include:

  • Brunnera macropylla (Siberian bugloss)
  • Chaenomeles × superba ‘Crimson and Gold’ (Japanese quince)
  • Erysimum ‘Bowles’s Mauve’ (wallflower)
  • Euphorbia amygdaloides (wood spurge)
  • Hyacinthoides non-scripta (bluebell)
  • Lamprocapnos spectabilis (bleeding heart)
  • Ribes sanguineum (flowering currant)

Why not visit some gardens for inspiration?

My top picks for April are

Rooksnest, Lambourn Woodlands, (April 10th)

The Old Rectory, Farnborough (April 14th)

Rookwood Farm House, Stockcross (April 28th)

Chenies Manor, Rickmansworth

Waddesdon Manor, Aylesbury

  Call Hannah Fraser, Bloom Gardens on 07768 041929 or visit Bloom Gardens website

Gardening: Veggie patch

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Gardening

Another year beginning and I can’t think of a better task than to sit in front of a roaring fire scanning the new seed catalogues! I am often asked what veg can I grow NOW?

Make a Plan

Each season is a challenge and often very different from the year before but certain veg need a long growing season whereas others only take a few weeks to reach maturity. It’s important to grow what you like to eat and if you have never grown veg before go with the tried and tested cultivars from seed or buy some already started for you from your local garden centre.

Consider whether you wish to grow in the ground, raised beds or even pots, all are very effective with a little know how.

There is nothing more satisfying than picking and eating your very own produce.

Brassicas If you want your very own sprouts for the Christmas table it is important to start now. Seeds germinated in a heated propagator is ideal but a window sill will do. Brassicas need a long growing season. If you sow the seeds in the next few weeks you are well on your way to picking your own next Christmas! Try to prick out when large enough to handle and then pot up into individual pots before planting out in the Spring. The bigger and more robust your plants are the less they will succumb to pest and diseases. 

Salads There are many varieties of lettuce and radish available, some of which are totally hardy. They do need a little warm to start them off but if you are clever you can have them all the year round.

Onions There are sets for Autumn or Spring planting and seed for Spring sowings. Leeks can be started early and can give you a fabulous winter crop next year.

Roots Need a slightly sandier soil but Spring sowings of Parsnips can be left in the ground to be lifted after frosts, another one for the Christmas table!

Beans and peas This year I have grown pea shoots in the greenhouse which would work just as well on the kitchen windowsill in shallow seed trays or pretty pots. Broad beans are good to go in the ground shortly but you will have to be patient before starting the runners and French because they don’t like the cold!

Potatoes Consider growing these in large pots of multi-purpose compost, can be started early inside or Spring outside.

Sprouted seeds and micro greens So many available to grow on the windowsill all year round!

 

Cathie’s Gardening School Services now taking bookings for Spring

Email for more info on Cathie’s Gardening School

The Winter Prune

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Gardening

People say to me ‘It must be nice to have the winter off….’ Well it is actually one of the busiest times for horticulturists as it’s pruning season.

It is a challenge to identify the plants, know how they are pruned and then carry it out. Cathie has some advice for those brave enough to venture out!

Plant Identification

Wisteria is obvious, most people are aware that theyhave one clambering up the front of the house. Apple trees can be more tricky but generally the big ones are pruned in the Winter whereas the trained ones are Summer pruned to reduce vigour. Roses are almost impossible but for pruning it’s essential to know as you could inadvertently cut all the flowers off!

Where to start

Wisteria: Take all the long bits out and any dead. Untangle from wires, phone lines , drainpipes and take out of gutters. It’s essential to have a good support system to tie the branches too and remember that any long wispy bits are future branches so keep them to a minimum.

Apples: Remove any congested branches, reduce long extension growths and take out anything dead and remove old fruit. Try to learn the difference between a fruiting bud and a leaf bud. It’s also important to know whether your tree produces fruit at the end of a stem (tip bearer) or on short stems (spur bearer)

Roses: Remove any dead, weak, diseased and congested stems. If you do nothing else this will help. Try to ascertain whether your rose is a climber or a rambler, a bush or a shrub or an old fashioned type as they are all pruned differently.

The Prune

Wisteria: February, reduce the shoots to a short spur and keep it simple! Try to only keep a few main branches or you will be overwhelmed with growth. Nothing looks tidier than a professionally pruned Wisteria in the Winter followed by gorgeous blooms in late Spring. Wisteria are high maintenance and need pruning at lease twice a year.

Apples: Identify the fluffy fruit buds from the flat leaf ones and reduce the vegetative growth to encourage the flowers and fruit. Try to open up the centre of the tree to allow in light and air. Annual pruning ensures a healthier tree and good quality fruit.

Roses: Can be cut back harder that you think to encourage vigour. Climbing roses can be pruned so all side shoots that have flowered to a short spur. Rambling roses are pruned after flowering in the summer. If you know whether you rose is a bush or shrub variety they can be pruned accordingly. Cut just above a bud at a light angle to encourage healing. Pencil thickness is a good rule of thumb.

Cathie’s Gardening School Services now taking bookings for Spring

  1. Horticultural consultancy teaching you in your own garden.
  2. Cathie’s Garden Army of horticulturists to transform your garden following a consultancy
  3. Don’t leave it too late to book in your Winter pruning session!

Email for more info on Cathie’s Gardening School