Severe chop every few years is required

Viburnum juddii
Viburnum juddii
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Tall viburnum Dawn is rarely without a bloom or two, in fact there are some showing now, but the main flowering period is October to April.

It is constantly pruned as we remove fragrant stems for vases but every few years, there has to be a severe chop in the name of rejuvenation and growth control.

Having missed the boat in May, I’m going for a compromise over two stages; reducing the height from four metres to three now to encourage some display and removing another metre, plus a side trim in spring.

But there are some shrubs that can be reduced in August to minimise this problem of overgrown borders, without adverse effect on next year’s flowering display.

Two escallonia varieties, one pale pink, the other a much deeper shade, also offer an important evergreen presence, but are such strong growers.

Both have just been reduced quite severely but are already responding with new stems so it should be business as usual next June.

The white spiraea arguta (bridal wreath) and rosy-pink S. billiardii, are two further examples of summer pruning opportunities.

Give them the blackcurrant treatment, removing spent flowering stems now, encouraging young shoots to grow and mature.

Other perennial subjects are being pruned at present for various reasons. Tall buddlejas that were covered in red admiral, peacock and fritillary butterflies until quite recently, have finished flowering and are being buffeted by strong winds. This rocking motion will break their roothold if it continues.

Their height should be reduced at least by half now and final, severe pruning can come at the beginning of spring next year.