Planting and pruning with Niki Preston

Planting and pruning with Niki Preston

When it comes to planting and pruning some thought needs to go into how much you can really do and how much time have you got to tend your plants. Perennials are always a great way to have a stunning garden with little work.

Most perennial flowers need very little pruning, just a bit of deadheading and then a chop right down when news shoots appear in the spring. It’s as easy as that. I would suggest some Achillea Millefolium which will spread itself easily and has superb flat heads which are great for attracting insects, bees and butterflies into your garden or perhaps some Perovskia “blue Spire” which is a beautifully vibrant violet blue tall deciduous shrub that only needs pruning in spring.

Niki 6Little work for a big reward. These are just two examples but perennials are by far the easiest way to garden and you can always add in a few annual bedding plants, such as Primula, fuchsia, lobelia and begonias for that instant splash of colour.

Consider the positioning of your perennials too, I didn’t do this in the beginning and we are now having to re-site some of our beds as I can’t get near them at pruning time, they say you learn from your mistakes, I certainly have and poor old James has to move everything again.

Long handled tools are fabulous to reduce bending or kneeling and they help you to reach just that bit further. Personally I would recommend who make the most wonderful tools especially for those with arthritis and or disabilities. Genny at PETA-UK very kindly sent me one of their long reach tools with the attachable cuff to test for this very article and I can honestly say it is great. I have no way of gripping so don’t usually plant anything at ground level, but with this tool and the cuff attached I get plenty of support and the cuff helps me to pull the tool back out of the ground.

These then are perfect if you have weak grip and weak wrists, James uses these tools all the time and he doesn’t have arthritis but he loves the way they reduce the amount of effort needed, of course that leads to us fighting over who gets their hands on them first. It is usually me as I pull my “oh that’s not fair” face and he gives in.

So once you have thought about which plants where for maximum impact and ease of pruning you are ready to plant plant plant, with a little bit of pruning thrown in.

This week we are working together with Arthritis Research UK to help Mature Times readers who are living with joint pain, or who know someone who is, to keep gardening. If you want to find out more about how Arthritis Research UK could help you or how you can join us in our fight against arthritis, go to