Summer pruning tips

Round & About


At last the weather is being kinder and we feel like getting out into our gardens. The CGS pruning courses are in full swing and many students are volunteering their gardens for a summer prune!

Rambling roses

Some roses flower once, spectacularly, in early summer. American Pillar, Rambling Rector, Wedding Day, Banksia and many others are a delight when scrambling through trees, over pergolas and even over arches and along ropes. Unlike other roses these are pruned after flowering to remove flowered branches and tie in new ones. They really are not for the faint hearted and many mistakes have been made. They are happiest rambling through a large tree or hedgerow where they can be left without pruning like our native dogrose.

Fruit trees

Trained apples and pears are summer pruned by reducing the long growths to a couple of buds encouraging fruit spurs. This helps keep them tidy and reduces growth as well as allowing light and air into developing fruit. Best done in August/September otherwise you may be doing it twice! Plums, Cherries, Almonds, Apricots and all stone fruit should always be pruned in summer and never in winter due to disease risk. It’s easy to remember just prune when picking!

Spring flowering shrubs

These include Weigela, Forsythia, Chaenomeles, Philadelphus, Deutzia, Syringa and Kolwitzia. I see many of these trimmed with hedgecutters and clients wonder why they have never flowered. This is because they flower on two year old wood so if trimmed every year you are cutting off next year’s flowers. I prune ornamental quince (Chaenomeles) constantly in Summer so you can see the flowers and developing edible fruit. It fruit on older wood and you can clearly see where it flowers if you look carefully. If any of these shrubs have become overgrown and need cutting right back you can start the pruning regime again after the second year.


This needs it’s own heading!

Anyone who owns one will know how mad it can grow in the summer. Cut off the long whippy shoots to a shorter one ready for the February prune. Don’t start too early after flowering or you will be repeating it several times! Leave until September if you can but sometimes it does need an untangle from tiles, drainpipes, sky dishes as well as preventing it actually growing into windows!


Hedges, topiary and large evergreen shrubs can be pruned all Summer to encourage new growth and regeneration. Laurel hedges should be done with secateurs to avoid leaf shredding. New hedges should be left until they reach the desired height before pruning the tops but do a formative prune to encourage side shoots.

CGS Courses

Please ask for details as I am running pruning courses throughout spring and autumn. Each plant has a different requirement and learning about pruning techniques is addictive! I can also come and teach you in your own garden.

Consultancy gift vouchers available too.

Website: Cathie’s Gardening School: Surrey’s Garden School

Email: [email protected]

Roses galore in our gardens

Round & About


Gardening expert Cathie Welch talks all things roses to mark Rose Awareness Week, June 19-25

As it’s rose awareness week I’ve been asked to write about roses. Well these are a plant that did not faulter in the heat or the cold, in fact they have thrived. There are many types of roses and it’s my job to educate and inspire so here goes…

Anyone who knows me will be aware that Rosa ‘Gertrude Jekyll’ named after the iconic garden designer is my favourite for scent, colour and sheer beauty! It comes from David Austin roses and can be a bush rose or a climber. I also adore ‘Munstead Wood’ for fragrance but this one is sadly no longer available. Instead opt for ‘Gabriel Oak’ or ‘Desdemona’ among others. These are all traditional or old fashioned rose types.

Roses for cutting need longer stems and a fabulous one is ‘Queen Elizabeth’ (pink) and ‘Alexander’ (orange). For a classic red rose choose ‘Fragrant Cloud’ one of many hybrid teas. These are all modern roses and there are many suppliers of these in garden centres and nurseries as well as online retailers. Plant fairs abound throughout summer and there is no better feeling than a car full of scented roses! There are also wild roses and single roses which are more bee friendly and even ground cover roses and those for the smallest patio. They really are a delight and worth their high maintenance reputation.


Roses are very hungry plants and need rich soil. They love a clay soil enriched with well rotted manure in full sun. Many of them are grafted onto rootstocks of wild roses so occasionally you get suckers which need to be cut off at ground level. Regular feeding is important in the form of compost and a high potash rose fertiliser. Ash from the woodburner is a traditional favourite. Pests and diseases can be a problem depending on variety but regular checking can catch them early. Try to be as organic as possible when selecting sprays. Dead head regularly after flowering to encourage more blooms.


This is what sends everyone into a panic as it’s all dependant on the type of rose you are growing. Bush roses are usually Hybrid tea or floribuda so they have single large blooms or clusters. Hybrid teas are generally cut harder. Climbing roses are pruned similarly but usually spur pruned onto a framework during the winter months. Ramblers that flower once are pruned after flowering in the summer, taking out flowered shoots and tying in the new ones. Shrub roses often have hips and don’t need such drastic pruning, if they can be left then occasional renovation can work. Don’t be tempted to trim with hedgecutters unless a hedge!

CGS Courses

Please ask for details as I am running pruning courses throughout Spring and Autumn. Each plant has a different requirement and learning about pruning techniques is addictive! I can also come and teach you in your own garden.

Consultancy gift vouchers available too.

Website: Cathie’s Gardening School

A rose by any other name

Karen Neville


Rose Awareness Week celebrates the beauty and variety of the world’s most popular flower. This is the ideal time to enjoy their glory with beautiful blooms and sensuous scents in gardens near you

Shakespeare said “of all the flowers, me thinks a rose is best” and who can argue with the great English playwright. Roses are rooted in many aspects of life, from literature to history, but did you know:

• The oldest living rose is 1,000 years old, and lives on the wall of the Cathedral of Hildesheim in Germany.
• All varieties of rose are edible. Rose petals are often added to jellies and used as a flavouring in Chinese and Indian cuisine. Teas or cocktails are often infused with rose hips, a berry shaped fruit grown from roses packed with Vitamin C.
• There are around 150 species of roses across the world, with thousands of hybrids too! Cherries, apples, peaches, plums, pears, apricots and almonds are all relatives of the rose family.
• The most expensive rose is the Juliet Rose. It took 15 years and cost £2.3 million. Its colour resembles an apricot and it was first displayed in 2006 at Chelsea Flower Show.

One of summer’s great pleasures is to stroll through a rose garden, breathe in the sweet fragrance and gaze at the pastel colours of the blooms. Whether in a formal rose garden or throughout the grounds, these ones are well worth a visit.


More than 100 rose varieties bloom each summer at Hinton Ampner, Alresford, and the borders are designed so the most fragrant roses are planted close to the path you walk along. Take the rose trail that guides you to the different varieties planted by a former owner, and Hinton’s garden team.

Step into the garden at Mottisfont and be met with unsurpassed fragrance and colour from over 500 varieties of world-famous roses blooming in the walled garden.


The rose garden at Nymans is teaming with delicate blooms and densely-petalled clusters. Make the most of the long summer evenings and experience the roses in a whole new light every Friday in June and July with summer lates at Nymans.

Take in the glorious views across the rolling Surrey Hills from Polesden Lacey near Dorking, framed by Edwardian rambling roses, shrub roses adorning the borders and climbing roses decorating the pergolas.

Started in 2007, the Bowes-Lyon Rose Garden at RHS Wisley aims to inspire visitors with roses planted alongside companion plants.

The two summer beds at the Six Quarters at Gilbert White’s House, Selborne, are home to various species of old roses, all of which look their best this month, nestled among lavender, geraniums, columbines and foxgloves.

Planted with over 1,000 Old English rose bushes and framed by long, low, precisely clipped box hedges, the Rose Garden at Loseley Park, Guildford, is one of the finest examples in the country. Many visit just for the colour and scent of the roses, evoking summer at its best.


The three-day flower show this month, 23rd to 25th, at Blenheim Palace is the ideal time to enjoy the roses at their best in the sumptuous surroundings of the stately splendour in Woodstock. Take a stroll down Floral Street, tour the Grand Floral Pavilion, join the newly-created Insect Trail and generally wallow in all that showcases the best of British gardening.

The Mary Rose Garden at Waterperry Gardens near Wheatley is home to hybrid teas, floribunda, climbers and ground cover roses – a rose lover’s paradise. Visitors in June will find among the many varieties grown there are some which only flower once a year, amid many repeat flowerers.

As part of the National Garden Scheme, The Old Rectory, Farnborough, near Wantage OX12 8NX will be open on June 28th and August 9th. Visitors can admire the collection of old roses and abundantly planted borders while enjoying beautiful views and rare plants and wild flowers.


There are around 2,000 roses throughout the garden at Abbey House Manor Gardens, Malmesbury, with climbers wandering their way through foxgloves and other flowers. Once part of a Benedictine Monastery, the gardens only open on selected dates during the summer months.


The rose arbor provides seating in an avenue of white and mauve alliums and white camtasisa at Rockwood Garden, Newbury where you can enjoy a tour with tea lead by the owners.

The 12 acre garden at Englefield House, Theale, descends from the hill above the historic house through woodland featuring mature native trees. Stone balustrades enclose the lower terrace with lawns, roses and mixed borders.

Greys Court near Henley is full of wonderful sights and scents as the roses come into bloom throughout June. The rose garden traces the history of the rose from the early damask varieties to the modern hybrid perennials.

Through June, August and September, the Rose Garden at Basildon Park is planted with old roses, replicating Lady Iliffe’s original design. Look out for two of the gardeners’ favourite roses: Rosa mundi and Rosa ‘Compte de Chambord’, which is also known as ‘Madame Boll’ or ‘Madame Knorr’.

Take in the scent of the contemporary rose garden at Savill Garden, Windsor, with its viewing platform overlooking the roses and the garden beyond and wander beside borders planted with old fashioned scented French musk roses.

Celebrate all things floral at the Royal Windsor Flower Show on Saturday, 10th June. Led by the show’s Honorary President, Alan Titchmarsh who will welcome a host of special guests and performances, with plant growers, garden designers, artisan producers and top-notch chefs on hand to demonstrate and share their knowledge.


Cliveden’s rose garden features over 900 repeat flowering roses in shades of red, orange and yellow. Reinstated in 2014 based on a 1950s design by Sir Geoffrey Jellicoe, you can enjoy them in bloom from late May until September.

Visitors to Waddesdon this month will be able to enjoy the sweet scent of the rose garden as the colourful blooms fill the stately setting. The beds in the Aviary and Parterre are awash with colour influenced by Victorian-inspired planting.

In addition to the stately splendour of Cliveden and Waddesdon, several gardens are opening as part of the National Garden Scheme this month. Overstroud Cottage Garden in The Dell, Frith Hill, Great Missenden, HP16 9QE, is opening its gates on Sunday, 4th June for visitors to admire the rambling roses and their ‘lookalike’ peonies among others. With a plant stall too you may even be able to pick up some specimens for your garden!

Maidenhead Open Gardens will feature about 20 gardens on June 24th and 25th with gardens large and small on display showcasing their blooms. Meet the keen gardeners and pick up some tips as you discover more about the hidden gems in the area. Earlier in the month, on 11th, visit the garden at St Timothee, Darlings Lane, Pinkneys Green, SL6 6PA and take in the sights and scents of the two-acre garden at this 1930s house where, in addition to the rose terrace, a box parterrre, ornamental grasses and wildlife pond add to the delight.