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Put him down Madam, you don’t know where he’s been. Time to give some assistance to floppy green things; hurry up, get out of our way, we’ve got to tie things up all over the garden. As with pinning down a friend, the correct restraints are everything. I had a customer who controlled a tree by attaching it to another trunk with nylon rope. Trees live in their outer layer and this one had been bisected by the unyielding plastic; both victims were extremely unhappy, which the Doctor subsequently cured by chopping them down. I was desperately grateful that I wasn’t one of his patients. Beautiful thirty year old specimens of Pittosporum destroyed without a thought, for which I could have operated on the perpetrator with a blunt shovel, without anaesthetic.
Passiflora 'White Lightning'
Passiflora ‘White Lightning’

Truss sweet peas, which may languish if not supported. I use cheapo obelisks, flat packed from budget shops. I wind these around with thin garden wire and the plants scramble over the cage thus created. This is the only occasion that I use the stuff; everything else is secured with green string. Humulus aureus (golden hop), being extremely vigorous, has escaped from this arrangement and is making next door’s plot its own. I will apologise and pop ’round with a machete, when she telephones me to say that she can’t get out of her house. Metal semi circular supports on legs are good for propping droopy perennials. Plastic coated ones cost more but don’t rust or break so easily. This is your last chance to get them in, while you can still wade through the borders without causing a lot of damage. Should you be the lucky owner of a small estate wherein you coppice hazel, twiggy sticks are naturally made to do the job but are not readily available to us peasants. Make friends with your local land owner or keep your shrub prunings for the purpose, if your partner will allow this without the use of sarcasm.
Alchemilla mollis (lady's mantle)
Alchemilla mollis (lady’s mantle)

Peas, beans, raspberries and other wall or frame trained crops should all be gently but firmly secured, with decent enough space for growth and to allow sap to travel up the stalk. If you make knots like a Yorkshire man, you risk die back above the tightest garrotte. Better still, if you hail from the north of England, ask a southern softie to do the job for you. The idea is to bear the load of fruit or vegetables without damaging the stem. You should not be trying to knit a suit of chain mail; use the garden wire for that.
Phlomis fruticosa (Jerusalem sage)
Phlomis fruticosa (Jerusalem sage)

Rubber straps may be used to discipline small trees and shrubs, should string prove to be insufficient. Keep an eye on it, to ensure that the plant isn’t throttled. Don’t leave hair thin wires stretched taut across a walkway. You may remember it’s presence or be short enough to pass unmolested, but the love of your life risks trotting into rigid piano wire at neck height. He will make a noise like a strangling elephant and retire hurt, if not headless. I must point out that this technique will not work when employed against bill collectors or officers of the law; they are cunning, careful and expecting dirty tricks and if you are caught in command of such action, bitter recriminations may be expected.

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