The Chelsea Chop

Keeping a display going from May to September is usually a tricky juggling act involving careful choice of plants to flower one after the other, and luck.

You can make things easier by simply controlling when your perennials flower, using a trick known as the 'Chelsea chop' – because you do it when the Chelsea Flower Show is on, around the end of May.

This works well with lots of perennials, and you'll find most of them in our garden centre. They include daisies: dyer's chamomile (Anthemis tinctoria), echinacea and helenium; and many cottage garden favourites like Phlox paniculata, sedums and goldenrod (Solidago).

At the end of May, use secateurs (found in our garden centre) to cut back every stem by a third to a half. It seems brutal, but all you're doing is delaying flowering for a while. Cut back some clumps and not others, and some flower at the normal time with a second display arriving a few weeks later.

You'll find plants grow sturdier and less leggy – so you don't need to stake them: you get double the flower power, too. So get chopping!

Please ask the staff in our garden centre for more information and advice about using the Chelsea chop to delay flowering.

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