As spring creeps closer, (less than 2 weeks!), I’m really starting to realize that busy season is coming. Soon we’ll be running around raking out, pruning, planting, and falling for all kinds of impulse buys at the garden center. You know who I’m talking about.
I’ve been looking through my notes and was reminded that I wanted to revamp some areas in my long border. Not an easy task, but not one I can put off any longer.
Perennial gardens take time to develop. We all know the saying, 1st year they sleep, 2nd year they creep, 3rd year they leap. What they don’t tell you is that it only takes another 3 years for the garden to become overgrown and out of balance.
Even with a little thinning and pruning here and there, some plants simple win the battle of wills. Here are my tips for regaining control.
Keep the shrubs pruned. Better still, plant some that don’t get large, like sweetspire (Itea virginica), Daphne, or one of those compact Dwarf Japanese Cedars (Cryptomeria japonica) such as ‘Little Diamond’. At the very least, choose some that can be cut to the ground each spring, like the gorgeous blue Caryopteris, below. Cut once. Done.
Don’t tolerate slackers. I have a purple leaf sandcherry (Prunus x cistena) that has 2 remaining branches on it. Those 2 branches are lovely, but let’s be rational here. I’ve had this shrub for 20 years. It’s time to wake up and smell the sour cherry.
We all have plants we pamper or constantly move around, hoping to make them happy. Even if they are sentimental favorites, let them go. Maybe you’ll have another garden someday, with different conditions and you can try again. Until then, enjoy them in others’ gardens.
Thin is in. Not every volunteer or division is a treasure to be hoarded. Once again, let them go, If they are big enough, pot them up and give them away. Even better, host a plant swap. Help your friend exercise garden tough love too.
Fresh eyes. Now would be a good time to reassess your growing conditions. Have nearby trees gotten so large, you now have a shady nook planted with lavender and roses? Not good. Consider this a great time to experiment with a whole new subdivision of plants. I highly recommend Lungwort (Pulmonaria) and Hellebores.
Don’t flaunt it. When you do go shopping, and you know you will, set a goal to stick with no more than 3 colors. Two would be even better. It will simplify your shopping, your designing and the disorder in your garden.
Accessorize. And while you’re at it, buy 1 really great ornament or structure for your garden. Give it a whole new focal point with a large urn, birdbath or tuteur. Then you’ll have at least one thing that won’t evolve into chaos in 6 years.