Monty Don explains May gardening chore as 'Chelsea Chop' brings extra flowers

Monty Don
Monty Don recommends pruning certain plants in the third week of May -Credit:Brentwood Gazette

Garden enthusiasts will be thrilled to get outdoors this bank holiday weekend, but there's one task Monty Don recommends for later this month.

If you're not familiar with the Chelsea Chop, it's a prune that's timed around the Chelsea Flower Show. Traditionally held the third week of the month, the event is May 21-24 this year.

It's about this time that the Chelsea Chop is recommended. In his blog about May Jobs, the Gardeners' World host Monty Don explained what to trim and how much.

As Monty explains, the Chelsea Chop is a way of extending the flowering season of late-flowering herbaceous perennials. These include heleniums, sedums, lysimachia or solidago (Golden Rod).

The gardening expert issued some instructions to see them flower for longer. If you have several clumps of these plants, then cut one of them "about halfway up the existing growth". For a big clump, reduce the plant one third of the way.

Plants. Flowers. Sneezeweed. Close up of orange coloured Helenium Moerheim Beauty Flowerhead. (Photo by: Zhale Naoka-Gibbs/Eye Ubiquitous/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)
Sneezeweeds are a helenium -Credit:Universal Images Group via Getty Images

He writes: "The result will be that the pruned section will produce side shoots bearing extra flowers which will bloom a few weeks later than the uncut growth and extend the display into autumn."

As for something to get done now, Monty advises sowing a group of flowers known as biennials. They take time to flower and by next summer, these flowers (wild flowers, forget-me-nots and foxgloves) and vegetables (leeks, onions and herbs) will ready to enjoy.

Monty also shared instructions for homemade compost that turns everyday rubbish into "black gold". The expert claims the two ingredient mix is better than any compost you can buy.

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