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Some high summer maintenance duties make a huge instant difference; others are simply long-term management
The days are long, the sun is hot and some gardens seem to be managing all by themselves...but that's not altogether true if you look carefully. There are tasks that need doing - some will make sure things don't get out of control by fall and others make an instant difference.
High summer means perennials and shrubs are flourishing, sometimes growing vigorously and pushing out their neighbours. Here, a climbing rose that was planted last year is being crowded by adjacent plants; a boxwood hedge, rampaging beebalm, a very happy panicum (that will be divided this fall) and joe pye weed. This kind of situation confirms that it’s ok to edit. Beebalm is a very vigorous perennial and will forgive you if you thin out the plants that are infringing upon others. The panicum, on the other hand, is telling you that you need to lift and divide so it doesn’t completely take over the rose’s territory next year. This is best done in the fall or better still, the spring.
And talking about galloping perennials, Anemone x hybrida ‘Robustissima’ is a stunning albeit vigorous flowering perennial that thrives almost anywhere. Plant it at your own peril as it travels without shame, often crowding out more demure plants who wouldn’t dream of overstaying their welcome. But if you have space that needs filling, go right ahead. This particular planting, underneath an apple tree that is on it’s last legs, will likely need to be curbed next year…not now, as it’s flowers are too beautiful (and too loved by bees) to be edited at the moment.
There are few things that mar hostas more than spent blooms. Cutting these back and allowing the glorious veined leaves to shine is a simple job with very satisfying results.
And speaking of marred hosta leaves, pay attention to the dropped petals from neighbouring perennials that sit on their leaves and take away from their glory. In this particular instance, beebalm has grown up around this mature hosta, leaving its dried up petals sitting on the leaves. I find it simple enough to brush them off so that they drop to the ground, making their own compost.
Mature gardens can get away from us sometimes and need a concentrated viewing and stern hand to keep things under control. The glory of lily of the valley in the spring is lovely but by high summer the foliage is browned and tatty. Pulling the leaves off and leaving them to reappear next year is one strategy. Another is re-thinking where it is planted. Does it need to be at the front of a bed? Or should it be in the background, camoflaged by perennials in their glory in summer?
I don’t think I have a choice with this bed. The anemone is rampant here and digging up the lily of the valley would be near impossible. Never mind; the tattered and brown leaves can be pulled up without affecting the vigour of the plants, leaving the anemone leaves to keep the area green.
I just wanted to share with you this charming front garden; I love the blue door, the colour of the roofline, door canopy and railing — and the echo of the border phlox. Not one of my gardens but appreciated on my walk today with Scoutie.