All the mahonias I’ve grown have been different. This one goes off like a firework at this time of year


The two yellow brugmansias I have in 35cm diameter by 27cm (26 litre) plastic pots are just beginning to flower, but are very pot-bound. They need watering at least once a day, and up to three times a day in hot weather. I rang the RHS advice service to ask about root pruning. The advisor recommended sawing off a couple of inches of roots from around the side and the bottom of the plants when they are coming into growth in the spring. If I am feeling cautious, I could do half the plant one year and the other half the next. This root pruning should be done every two or three years, but some growers do it every year. The plants will still need frequent watering.

Rope ladders

10mm synthetic hemp rope is stretched between the NE corner of the house and the fence along the N side of the back garden to allow Clematis montana and Rosa ‘Albertine’ to reach the house. Simpler and less obtrusive than a pergola. They shouldn’t be visible in a year or two


The wisteria on the back (E facing) wall of the house has now reached the roof. It was planted just over two years ago, is obviously healthy, but hasn’t flowered yet. The variety is Wisteria floribunda ‘Yae-Kokuryu’ (Black Dragon) and it has an AGM.


Montbretia can be rather dull, but it’s attractive in loose, fresh plantings, so I’ll dig out the old clump.