Plan your perennial garden now

Whether you are just re-vamping an older garden or starting a new garden, now is the time to start planning your perennial garden.

It may seem rather early but you will need to evaluate the plants you have or need to purchase and fix the garden bed properly.

The most important step in a garden is the soil preparation. This is also the step most overlooked. For a perennial garden you wan to make sure the soil is fertile and as weed free as possible. This is important in a perennial garden because once its established you will not have as much work as other gardens.

The next step is to take stock of any perennials you have and decide to keep them and if they need moved of divided. Perennials should be divided in early fall or the spring. In my zone 5 climate I move mine in the last week of August. This will give the plants enough time to develop new roots for the winter but not suffer from the move in the hot heat of the summer.

If you currently have perennial you may want to divide them and regroup them by size. Its always seems I get a few perennials that grow taller than I expect and block the viewing of smaller plants. You will want to place taller plants in the back of the garden and shorter plants in the front.

For my garden this year I am adding about ten new perennials and more hostas. I am also adding a few rose bushes and small flowering shrubs. I plan on taking out all the plants and reworking the ground. I will then divide my current plants and make a garden plan. This will help me choose a location for my new perennials. I normally do not do this much work in the garden but the plants have grown and it just needs a lot of work.

Once the plants are in place I will water them well for the first 3 weeks. Then mulch the garden for the cold winter month ahead. With a good mulch to protect the new plants roots the garden should survive the weather and be ready for grow in the spring.

I always add a few annual flowers to the perennial beds. This fills in any blank spaces and offers color all year long.

Besides taking in the height of plants I also group the plants together in clumps of 3 to 5 so that I can identify the plants better when they start their new growth. This stops me from pulling out a plant as a weed.

I also try to balance the garden with plants that have color in the spring summer and fall. This can be the most difficult step but talking with a garden center will help. Herbs and ground covers seem to add texture and different colors.  Hostas and plants with variegated leaves add color and this is where annual flowers fill in well.

The only drawback I see in perennial gardens is that you need to select plants that are not invasive and spread too quickly or choke out other plants. This year I know that I will have enough new plants from dividing them that I can give some away and also start another garden.

Tags: planning a perennial garden, dividing perennial plants, plant a perennial garden in the fall, garden planning

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Denise

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