The Right Support

Large clump of unsupported Sedum spectabile flopping from centre - © GAP Photos/Julia Boulton

Large clump of unsupported Sedum spectabile flopping from centre – © GAP Photos/Julia Boulton

If there is one garden job that is often missed in the spring, but proves beneficial later on in the season, it’s providing support for vegetable crops, annuals and herbaceous perennials. Plants often flop outwards under the weight of their own flowers and fruit, or bend towards the light; and a few stakes and a bit of string help can prevent this from happening.

Although support can be installed later in the season as required, it is often a good idea to have the framework in place before plant growth really takes off in late spring. Now is a great time to start as you should be able to see where the new growth is, but still have the space to add support without damaging any foliage or roots. Better yet, if you are also planting, you can incorporate a support system at the same time.

When it comes to plant supports, they can be as fancy or simple as you like. Some bamboo canes and string will provide efficient support to climbing annuals such as sweet peas. A few wooden stakes drummed in around the base of a herbaceous perennial, with string laced between them will help the plant upright.

Also consider how you can use plants to decorate structures in your garden. Clematis look beautiful as they steadily climb their way up decorative obelisks. Archways and pergolas can be turned into cool, shady areas in the summer if covered by a sun-loving vine.

Here we have put together ideas for simple and effective plant supports to try now, so that you can spend the summer admiring your garden rather than rushing around in the heat supporting it.