Weekend Work: Trials take time, which is why we should be grateful to the British Clematis Society

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The Independent Online

What to do

June pruning can be disposed of quite quickly. Pinch back the lateral shoots of fan-trained apricots, leaving about three inches of the shoot in place. If there are sub-laterals growing from the laterals, pinch these back leaving only one leaf in place. Cut out entirely any branches that are crossing each other.

Surplus shoots on fig trees can be cut out entirely now. They are over-enthusiastic growers and generally need some thinning. The fruit is borne on the young growth and these shoots should be stopped at four leaves.

Bay trees grown as standards or pyramids need clipping to shape once or twice during the summer. Keep the leaves for cooking. Remove any suckers that spring up from the base of standard bays.

Pyracanthas grown as free standing bushes need no regular pruning, though you may need to contain their spread by occasionally taking out an entire branch. Wall-trained specimens will need thinning now.

Some of the early brooms, such as the gorgeous lemon-flowered 'Cytisus praecox', need trimming over as soon as they have finished flowering.

Prune leggy mahonias by cutting back one or two of the tallest stems by half.

What to buy

Trials take time, which is why gardeners should be grateful to the British Clematis Society for running them. Each set of trials runs for three years and plants are assessed for health, vigour and general worthiness. If a plant scores 80 per cent or higher, it gets a Certificate of Merit. At the end of the most recent trials this year, only one plant won an award, Clematis 'Blue Pirouette'. It has a deep rich purplish-blue flower and blooms from June to September. It is available from The Walled Garden Nursery, Brinkworth House, Brinkworth, Nr Malmesbury, Wilts SN15 5DF, 01666 826637, clematis-nursery.co.uk