For beautiful wisteria it's best to take charge with frequent pruning once the blooms are spent. (Photo: Mar Jennings)
I don't want to speculate on whether or not we have any desperate housewives here in the Hamptons, but I can assure you that it's easy to find examples of the pristine, well-manicured beauty of the homes and gardens of Wisteria Lane. For those who don't know, this imaginary street upon which they lived was a set in Universal Studios, and looked too perfect and to good to be true. But the Hamptons' representations of meticulous gardens and homes are all real. Driving down a street such as Gin Lane in Southampton will transport you with inspiration. Many homes that inspire me have the benefit of gardening staff, but it doesn't mean that I can't take their beauty in as motivation. You can do that same yourself, then turn your attention to the work to be done before we can truly rest and enjoy our gardens this coming summer season. To help you, here is part 3 of my 3-part series of garden chores; my alMARnac.
LATE- SPRING (MAY/JUNE):
Cut back bulb foliage: Once daffodils and tulip foliage begin to turn yellow and flop, cut the flower off and leave the greenery. With daffodils, you can braid them or fold them over twice and rubber band them to make them more visually appealing. Once late May and early June arrives, cut them down completely. Be careful—cutting them too early deprives the bulbs of nutrients from the sun for the next year's blooming season.
Prune: Prune spring-flowering shrubs that need it right after they bloom. Deadhead shrubs such as azaleas and rhododendrons after the flowers are spent, which could be as late as June or July.
Speaking of flowering shrubs that look too good to be true, have you ever driven by Mecox Gardens on Country Road in the late spring and noticed their fifteen year old white wisteria in full bloom? Talk about a show stopper as the blooms not only invite you to pull over take in the beauty, but also shop. I love Mexoc Gardens and, although they are open all year, come spring I can be found wandering the grounds not just in search of the latest in home décor items and accessories, but dawdling to admire this beautiful textbook wisteria
Want your own Mecox Gardens wisteria? Easy to do, once you know some simple steps. If you don't already have one on your property, our wonderful local nurseries can set you up. Once it's established, simply create a monthly schedule for frequent pruning once the blooms are spent. My personal experience is that it's best to take charge of the wisteria; too many people let it grow un-trained, which results in fewer blooms. Simple schedules can be found—try an on-line search, or go to my website for a great year-long, easy-to- follow plan. Once you know how to shape and direct your plant, everyone else will be desperate to know your secrets.
And there you have it.
Mar is an Emmy Nominated TV Host, Lifestyle Expert and best-selling author of "Life On Mar's, A Four Season Garden," that chronicles the evolution of his Westport, Connecticut garden. www.marjennings.com