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The petals have dropped

By Leek Post and Times  |  Posted: June 22, 2014

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Joyce Plant is a volunteer at The Heath House in Tean, tasked with ensuring the historical Gothic mansion's gardens are pristine and in top condition all year round. Here she shares some of her gardening tips for the season.

HEATH House, Tean, at springtime is the garden at its best.

Rhododendrons and Azaleas make a fantastic show, but they do need space.

If like me you do like this splash of colour in May, it can be accommodated.

Buy a hybrid Rhododendron of your colour and choice, maybe when it is in flower which means waiting until next year.

To keep shrub compact and with good yearly flowers, my tip is always "dead head" immediately.

By nipping with finger and thumb the base where the flower has finished, the seed heads can easily be removed in one go without damaging the new growth for next year.

It is not a job I carry out on the estate.

That would be a mammoth task, but it certainly does keep the rhododendrons compact and in good order.

The weeds this spring have been rapacious.

Our volunteer Gordon who happens to own an ancient Hoe, has a useful piece of advice, keep hoeing, don't let the weeds get rooted.

Continually hoeing loosens the weeds without losing any of the valuable soil.

He should know, he says his hoe has never worked so hard.

For further details on volunteering Joyce can be contacted on 01538 722430.

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