Giving support

  • Gardening hints for March

If you know that some of your plants are going to need supporting or they'll be flopping onto neighbouring plants once summer comes, then now is a the time to put in stakes. Use twiggy sticks left over from pruning, bamboo canes or metal stakes but be careful not to damage the root ball of the plant. For 'top heavy' plants such as phlox and peonies, they are better supported by a cage. To make a cage push in three or four stakes and then weave string in and around them to create a 'cat's-cradle' effect. Other types of support include hoops and trellises. By putting the support in place now even the ugliest ones will soon be covered by leafy branches. Climbing plants may need the new growth gently tied into the support every 10-15cm; use soft string or an old tee shirt cut into thin strips.