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6 messages
20/05/2014 at 14:03

I have grown Carpenteria Californica for several  years now.  To be honest, it has been sadly meglected in that I have pruned only the tops and even then only rarely.  It has grown woody, twiggy, leggy, with lots of dead wood and bare to such an extent that I intended to dig it out a few weeks ago.  However, I lopped all the old wood instead to see if there would be a recovery.  Well. It is producing new shoots.

My question.  Has anybody grown this shrub as an espalier?  It seems to me it would suit it grown this way.  It flowers on wood made last year and it struck me that it does so in the same way as spurred apples and pears do so, in theory, it could be espalied.  It all depends now on how my bush responds this summer, how vigorously, etc. but I think it would look fantastic grown this way.  .???  Anybody growing this as a trained bush?  

20/05/2014 at 21:25

Never grown it at all Verdun but I'll give you a nudge up. Have you seen the pics of Foggy Bottom yet?

20/05/2014 at 21:46

This is one of the Philadelphus family.  Hence blooming on the previous year's growth.  Ultimate height is around ten feet.  Usually it is left to grow and shape naturally, requiring no pruning.  That is all  well and good in country estate gardens and parks etc.  In the average garden, rules have to be broken. In such cases.  Every few years do your best to take out any thick wood.  The closer to the ground the better.  Propagation is quite straight forward, either by seed or cuttings.  Another method is, but not mentioned by the experts, RHS included is to.  Check the base of the shrub at ground level. If there are several growth emerging out of the soil, wait until flowering has stopped.  Then with a sharp spade, take a good slice dowwards.  This usuall cuts a shoot off from the main root system.  Grow this on at the same time reducing it's height by at least half.  When new growth appears, you can try your hand at an special shape training.

20/05/2014 at 22:06

I understood that this particular plant (and I've got one) hates to be tied up and doesn't like to be crowded.  How true this is I don't know yet, but as mine's inclined to be a bit floppy, I've very loosely tied a few branches to the trellis behind it - and it hasn't died on me yet! The flowers are beautiful and about to come out any minute I think.

And thanks Mike for your advice, very helpful indeed.

20/05/2014 at 22:08

Only too pleased to help and share, Liz.

20/05/2014 at 23:51

Yep, thanks Mike

Also just realised it likes moisture.  Always assumed it to be a Mediterranean type ...I.e. drought resistant .....plant but apparently not.  So, hard back pruning, a good feed and plenty of watering today.  

Yes, lizzie.  The flowers are truly beautiful and, until this year, were a summer treat.

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