No not the latest football scores! We’ve already mentioned how organised we’ve been this year with our mulching and timely staking. Another job we carried out was the much vaunted ‘Chelsea chop’ Around late May, usually when the Chelsea Flower Show is on, the stems of perennials are pruned and reduced in height by up to a half. What we’re doing is removing the ‘apical dominance’ of the stem tip and the plant reacts by producing numerous side shoots resulting in many more flowers, though slightly smaller and later.
We carried out this operation on only half the shoots of each plant, our theory being that those left unpruned will flower at the usual time, but just as they are ‘going over’ the pruned stems will perform a perfect rearguard action and come into their own flowering well into early autumn. Helenium and Rudbeckia have been the perfect subject for this treatment at Genus HQ but others such as Achillea, Sedum, and Penstemon also react favourably.