Friday, June 12, 2015

How to cut back shrubby Euphorbias

 If you're like us, you know the shrubby Euphorbias are the fun lovin' criminals of the plant world. Tough, drought tolerant and always seeding themselves everywhere.

We have lots of Euphorbia characias in the garden and enjoy their compact shape and amazing chartreuse flowers. But when the flowers are over (more brown than lime green) they need to be cut back, so here's how.

Don't do this
First of all, note that Euphorbia sap, a white milky and sticky substance that leaks out when you prune them, is quite the irritant. Don't get it in your eyes people! Some species have sap that can blind you, so take care.

That also means that pruning them around dogs and children needs to be done right.

First, do not just deadhead the tops of the flowers and leave sticks with nasty sap at small-beast eye level! Someone's gonna get hurt, and at the very least it looks ugly when you prune plants this way.

Second, if you cut down to a few inches from the base and compost the stalks (I chop them up a bit for faster composting) it's a quick job. See the before and after here - the new stalks coming in will quickly fill out the shrub.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Drought casualties

We have had a few drought casualties already.

One area hard hit is the brights bed at the top of the garden.

The gigantic Salvia gesneriiflora 'Tequila" is 90% wilted or dead (some parts may make it) as well as the Buddleja "Ellen’s Blue" and another Buddleja Joan gave us ages ago. Even the Kool Aid Bush (Psoralea pinnata) is looking dry.

The question is: when the drought ends, what will we replace them with?

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Super Volunteer!

Today's volunteer day dawned bright and sunny, and Matt and I headed up to the garden ready for a few light tasks. Nothing major. It's hot, yaknow?

However, that was not to be.  Super Volunteer Bob showed up and did All The Things:

1. Turned the compost LIKE A BOSS
2. Cut back the Chasmathes like it was HIS CAREER
3. Obliterated a huge nasty stand of ivy that was out of control AS IF IT WAS A DRAGON HE WAS FIGHTING. AND WON.

Not only that but his wife Barbie weeded the steps with determined efficiency, and Jackie came too and weeded the back terrace with great gusto. But really, honestly, Bob killed it.

I cut back some Euphorbias and Matt did all sorts of tub-trugs full of damage to weeds.

But Bob owned it.
page counter
Free Hit Counter