Designing Beautiful Borders

Light pruning of winter flowering shrubs

This week I have been tidying up some winter flowing shrubs. These are shrubs which have flowered over the winter period and are now done for the year

1. Mahonia x media is a prickly customer and a good pair of gloves are definitely recommended. Thankfully, it is straight forward to manage - simple cut the spent flower head off, just above a whorl of foliage. If your Mahonia is looking congested, you can also remove one or more of the older stems, back to the base.


2. Winter flowering heather (Erica carnea) is also best cut back in spring, once the flowers have faded (image below). By removing most, but not all of the previous year’s growth, you can help maintain a compact shape and prevent the heather becoming straggly and unsightly.  It is better to use secateurs than shears, though shears have the advantage of speed. Cut each stem back to just below the faded flower bud. Avoid cutting back into older growth as heather does not easily re-shoot from older wood.