The Hampton Court Chop: stake out.

by AnneWareham on July 4, 2015

Pink Persicaria campanulatum at Veddw.

I hate staking plants. It looks ugly, especially early on in the year. And it’s hard work (always best avoided). So I have one or two tricks to save me the bother.

One is stuffing plants so tight together that they are self supporting. This works well, especially if you don’t feed them (never spoil a plant, it’ll never let you in peace afterwards). But edges of paths get problematic, unless you’re a great big institutional garden with paths ten feet wide. We’re not and if we don’t do something some paths become impassable, especially after heavy rain has flattened things a bit.

So in the front garden we added rails to try and confine the rampagious creatures. See here:

Rail Veddw Copyright Anne Wareham SAM_1878

That’ll show them.

or here –

Berberis and rail Veddw Copyright Anne Wareham SAM_1871

OK, they escape too..

You can see that some escape but that just softens the line and it’s not enough for them to begin to get in our way.

Veddw Copyright Anne Wareham SAM_1869

Delinquent daisies

Though sometimes I’m a bit soft. I’ve let those daisies go all over the entrance here just because they look great like that.

We started with just a top rail but last winter added two further rails below to catch the little buggers that didn’t grow tall enough to get stopped by the top rail.

Next trick? Well, you know all about the Chelsea Chop. I’ve just been doing the Hampton Court Chop, it being the end of June. I’ve made a right old mess in places but sometimes we’ve just got to tolerate that for a few days.

Like these Helianthemum:

Campanula cut down Veddw Copyright Anne Wareham SAM_1828

A bit shocked but bravely fighting back.

Looking perky again already. I just cut the front ones down so they won’t sag over the path. And, if I’m lucky, it will stagger the flowering. Same here with some Persicaria.

Persicaria Veddw Copyright Anne Wareham SAM_1833

They should recover well enough as long as we don’t get drought, and then they do this kind of thing:

The stone and persicaria, Veddw copyright Anne Wareham 071 s

Classic floppers.

I’m concious that, as usual, I don’t seem to be doing what I should, which is the famous Chelsea Chop, but this seems the right time to me for these plants. The next couple of months will tell. Interesting, I think.

AW

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Kate Patel July 5, 2015 at 12:18 pm

A timely post, Anne, thanks for sharing your secret. I dither about chopping things down, but hate the sight of awkwardly trussed up herbaceous perennials. Knitting plant supports is not my forte! Your black railing solution is pleasing and elegant in its simplicity ….

AnneWareham July 10, 2015 at 10:57 pm

Thanks, Kate!

Amy Murphy July 10, 2015 at 10:50 pm

I have this internal debate every year about this time. I have some asters, October Sky, which are so pretty this year, just foliage, but profuse and the right size. Come August they are Amazons taking over and overshadowing everything nearby. BUT every year I can not bring myself to snip them back now, when they are so pretty, eventhough I regret it every August through October. I know, I know, there is nothing to say.

AnneWareham July 10, 2015 at 10:56 pm

Perhaps cutting some of them down would be easier? What I like about my chops is that it leaves some flowering/tall but promises me more later. XX

Beverley Kinnaird August 17, 2015 at 4:16 am

I planted 3 Helianthus lemon queen which grew together in a solid block and looked rather ugly so I chopped them off at different heights which looked much more interesting. It is so easy to experiment with perennials – if you don’t like the effect you can change it next year.

I visited with a friend for the first time yesterday, we both loved it. You appear to have fun with your garden, it has so many appealing aspects, we look forward to seeing it at a different season next year.

AnneWareham August 17, 2015 at 8:22 am

Thank you for writing – and so glad you liked the garden. And yes, spring is very different – the meadow is doing its thing,for example. Like the idea of different heights – I begin to think the idea of a ‘Chelsea Chop’ may be creating its own rigidity, given the possibilities beyond that.

Louise Woodcock October 21, 2015 at 10:11 pm

I’m glad I found you – absolutely stunning photos! I’m heading over to outwit the squirrels now 🙂

AnneWareham October 21, 2015 at 10:51 pm

Great – thanks for telling me and I hope the squirrels are at least entertaining. Xx

Christine Dakin July 9, 2016 at 7:00 am

I, too, hate staking so much that it just doesn’t get done. The worst offender is galega but, now I think about it most of the other tall plants seem to grow quite happily, uprightly and unbendingly even in our windy site.

AnneWareham July 29, 2016 at 2:03 pm

Good. We’re doing something right then!