Cutting back euphorbias

newhatHeadgear. I have spent so much time under a cap with ear muffs and eye protectors this past fortnight-  strimmng and a mowing. So today I just yearned to go a bit native.

I bought a new hat from Andrew’s at the end of last month and I have been itching to swan about.

It has a wide wide brim which means I can hide underneath it and waft about the garden pretending I am Vita Sackville West deadheading roses at Sissinghurst.euphorbiagloves (1)

Well I do deadhead roses. But that job is done in about half an hour.  It’s the rest of the day under the hat that you are going to see today.

And those eye protectors didn’t go into a drawer.  This is a job that may be done under a designer hat, but the rest of the tools are decidedly domestic and dull.

euphorbiatocutCutting back euphorbias.

A marvellous plant. But you have to keep on top of them.

The euphorbia robbie will spread by runners, so they are up there with your most impressively spreading spurge.

But if you can cut the flowering part of the euphorbia before it sets seed, you won’t have tiny seedlings popping up about fifty feet from the parent.

And besides, the zing of lime green will have definitely left the euphorbia wulfenniis by now. They have done their job of lifting your spirits with such bright spring colour. So a quick beheading is best.euphorbiatocollect

But the sap. The irritating, burn your skin sap. You have to watch particularly when you wade into a good clump of euphorbia. Reaching in to cut the flowering stalk right at the base will mean you do a complete face plant into the bush.  And if the sap gets anywhere near your eyes you will pay for it.

So with my eyewear well attached I was spared any minor injuries.

artureuphorbiaAnd cutting euphobias lend themselves to a slightly less than orderly gardener. I find that if you cut the stalks and then just leave them to ooze white sap all over themselves, then come back at the end of the day, you won’t get so much goo all over your clothes.

This farm was littered with debris by the time I had cut my way around.

And of course I made the mistake of chucking lots of the stalks on Alice’s path where Artur has an early evening last of the sun, warm on the rocks snooze. He blends in so well with the granite rocks of the wall I didn’t see him at first.

He woke up when the wheelbarrow almost ran him over. arturedgealicepath

But if all this thought of danger and menace is putting you off, then the wonderful euphorbia polychroma might be for you.

It’s not evergreen, so you will need to tidy the dead stalks in late winter or spring. But they pop up each April all pert and bright.

And never self seed or invade. A wonderful addition to the thuggier euphorbias in the shade garden.