PEP-UP YOUR PERENNIALS!
How to make sure your border heroes survive winter
AS the mainstay of most summer gardens, a lot hangs on the health of your herbaceous perennials.
Ours have been Protect roots with a fantastic this layer of mulch year, with special mention going to the catmint, penstemons, echinaceas, hardy geraniums and Verbena bonariensis.
As early autumn continues its course, this week is an ideal time to take stock of your perennials, tidy them up, plant new ones and divide those that have outgrown their space.
“Increase plant numbers by simple division”
Hardy geraniums feature largely in our garden because they love its freedraining chalky soil.
They need regular cutting back throughout the growing season to keep them in shape and encourage prolonged flowering. Now, one of the largest ones requires dividing to keep it healthy.
If left alone, the heart of perennials often become woody or weak, and flowering performance falls off after a few years. Splitting plants increases your collection for free and keeps plants strong. Always discard any material that looks weak or diseased, and make sure that all the divisions you keep have strong sections of root attached. If you can’t re-plant the divisions immediately, wrap them in damp plastic or paper and store them somewhere cool for up to 48 hours. Autumn is also the best time for checking the health of your plants, cutting back old foliage where appropriate and deadheading. After doing so, mulch the plants well with well-rotted compost or manure. This acts as a slow-release feed and provides an insulating blanket to cocoon the roots during the winter.
Wrap roots in damp paper or plastic if you can’t re-plant immediately Dividing perennials will give you a greater number of small, healthy plants