Its Chelsea chop time!

If you're anything like me you've been glued to the TV every night this week (after i've watered my plant babies of course!) because its that glorious time of year- Chelsea Flower show!

I went for the first time last year, a must do if you love flowers, yes its pricey but oh so worth it.  I came away feeling so inspired, in fact its one of the things that inspired me to start Adventures with Flowers.

Red and purple lupins in front of a multicoloured piece of wall art at Chelsea flower show

The method i'm about to describe takes its name from the Chelsea flower show because its carried out around the time that Chelsea is on.  Plus I think, probably because it means you can extend the flowering season of some of your later flowering perennials and get gorgeous flowers for longer :) . Which lets face it, flowers is what Chelsea is all about!

White alliums and foxgloves spilling out of a planter at the entrance to Chelsea flower show

So what is the Chelsea Chop?

Its a technique where you cut a third or half of the stems of some perennial plants.

It will delay flowering on the stems you cut off so I prefer to just do this to half the plant.  This means the stems you don't cut flower as usual and then just as they finish the ones you did chop have caught up and start to flower!

Here are a few plants that respond well to be chopped.

Phlox Paniculata

White phlox paniculata david against a brick wall

White phlox paniculata and purple drumstick alliums in the flower border

This variety is called David and I bought it because thats my hubby's name, but there are lots of different varieties in lovely pinks and purples. 


Sedum autumn joy, yellow rudbeckia and green succulents in wooden crates in front of a brick wall

Sedum autumn joy, yellow rudbeckia and green amaranthus in the flower border

This is fleshy plant (on the left of the first pic) that doesn't need too much fuss to do well.  This picture is before mine flowered last year, but from early summer through to late autumn (provided you do your Chelsea chop) the stems will be topped with the most intricate pink or red flowers (depending on the variety you choose).  

Sedums are great for providing food for the birds if left in the border over winter, or they can be cut once dried and added to a festive wreath for the birds to feast on.

Echinacea purpurea

Purple echinacea with a bumble bee on top of it

As you can see from the photo these are a favourite of our black and yellow buzzy friends the bee. Giving lovely height to the back of a border and can also be left in over winter to provide something to look at when the rest of the garden is bare.

So be brave, be bold and get chopping half those plants back and you'll be rewarded with colour in your borders and flowers for your vases for longer!


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