19 Sep 2013

Dividing Perennials and Saving Seed

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In many ways, at this time of year, you can begin the changes to the garden that have been needing to happen. The Perennial Garden for instance (with the exception of a few things) can be changed in readiness for the coming year. You can reduce overcrowding and add space for more and varied flowering plants, with just a few simple techniques.

First, most perennials lose their vigor in the centre of the plant mass as they age and need to be invigorated by dividing the plants and picking out the new and healthy roots to become vibrant again next year.  Two forks, back to back, plunged into the centre of an uprooted plant is all you need to begin division.  Now is a great time, whilst you can still see the plant with foliage to remember what it looked like during its prime. When you plunge 2 forks back to back into the centre of the plant and gently pry them apart the plant reveals a number of separate plants around the older root.  These are the plant-lets that will be the best for the next few year.  While doing this areas are revealed in the bed where you may want to add an additional new plants to spice up the garden.  Remember you will have enough plant-lets from your division to trade with other garden enthusiasts, so you likely will gain a lager variety.  

Second, I always spread the seeds of the hardy annuals, as I tidy up my flower garden  Seeds like: forget me nots, calendulas, columbine, and mecanopsis etc.  Hardy annuals are a great way to fill the spaces left by the early spring garden, and, in some ways, the late summer garden as foliage and dry seed heads make for a type of architecture amongst the flower bed.  In conclusion, the soil is cooling slowly and the plants are sensing the end to their cycle, sending nutrients down to the soil and roots, signaling the fall clean up is approaching.  Getting a head start on it is wise!  Plus you may not get too many chances to commune amongst the flora this side of the year.

Have fun,

Derek

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