Pruning, twisting, tying, climbing!

Autumn came and went, as swiftly as the leaves fell from the trees. In the gardens we have been busy clearing up the fallen debris and preparing for the winter months. You might be surprised to know there is plenty of pruning to do at this time of year.

One big task in the gardens at this time of year is trimming and tying in many of the climbers and wall shrubs that furnish the College walls. Often old ties need replacing, re adjusting and plants need to have summer growth reduced. There are also some plants that have long stems such as some of the larger roses which would suffer from wind rock, or become damaged if there was to be snowfall, that do well from being pruned now rather than waiting until the growing season resumes in March.

There are many different shapes and sizes when it comes to the climbers in the gardens. Here are some of the different trained shapes you may see as you walk around…


We also often train roses and other flexible stemmed flowering climbers in a criss-cross pattern, and this is to encourage more flowering buds along each stem. Many plants display something called apical dominance, where the growing tip of the main stem of the plant dominates the growth of the plant. This results in no side shoots immediately below the tip of the plant and produces tall, slender plants. In order to break this dominance, we either prune the tip of the plant, or in many cases we twist and tie the shoots in a horizontal manner, thus encouraging the stem to sprout along its length.