Monday, March 1, 2010

Cutting Things Down to Size.

Remember last year when I was late trimming my grasses? This year we have taken advantage of a warmer, drier February and nearly all are already trimmed - a month ahead of last year. Besides making room for the new growth, we found that holding or tying them up while cutting the stems - preferably with a trimmer of some kind - is much much cleaner. I felt like I was battling old sticks and dried heads all summer last year when we just whacked away at them.

It's definitely still winter, but a little fresh air and work outside has me thinking and planning already. My secret garden changed dramatically last year and while it may not need the same kind of design and planting attention this summer, there is plenty of filling in which will give it a more lush feeling. There are several typed of perennials that I have learned to love in these last seasons, and I would like to extol their virtues.

First, coreopsis. There are many varieties and although yellow is most
common, there are now bright and pale pink, white, and a few red varieties. I didn't love them at first, the flowers are small and the plant is bushy, but they blossom all spring, summer and fall, and when deadheaded they are profuse bloomers (deadheading is the key - otherwise they are just lumps of green). I often make my way through my 10 or plants snipping off dying blossoms - but I also sometimes just trim one way back and in a week or so, it is back in force. They are great for pots and as long as they have sun, they'll grow with little water and poor soil. If they get too floppy, I use a circular stake and they stand right up. Like these in the right corner of the photo.Another new favorite is plumbago. My neighbor, Wendi, recommended them and I have really loved what they add. They are a small border plant and I am gradually planting them all around the outside ring of the garden. They are at first green leaved with bright blue flowers, then the leaves gradually turn red until they are really a beautiful fall color. They spread slowly from year to year - but they're worth it!

And maybe my favorite accidental find in a big box nursery is crocosmia! They are part of the iris family, they spread and although they bloom later, the green foliage looks great in the background all year. And when the flowers are done, the seed heads still look good all fall. And hummingbirds love them!It's always good to try a new plant or take a recommendation. You can always give them away, move them or let them die gracefully if you don't like them, but many of the plants I have come to love, were little happy accidents!

1 comment:

Sarah said...

Oh, I am so glad you shared your ideas and names of those plants! I have all my backyard beds to fill this year. (After I rid them of the weeds, of course.) I'll have to try some of these plants you have recommended!