Tidying up perennials
A GroUp of Geum ‘Mrs J. Bradshaw’ have been fantastic this year, blooming constantly from about late May until the end of August. now flowers have faded leaving long stems topped with fluffy seed heads and clumps that look a bit tired. After cutting the spent stems down to the ground, I find it helps to chop plants back hard to rejuvenate the foliage.
rather than let the fading flower stems of Astilbe ‘professor van der Wielen’ set seed, I’ve taken them back to the base. over the next month or so, the foliage will start to turn brown and crispy, and I’ll prune the whole lot back by cutting 2in (5cm) above the ground, taking care to avoid any of the knuckle-like growths near the surface.
don’t get carried away and cut back everything; sedum, monarda, alliums, rudbeckia, Jerusalem sage, echinacea and other late flowering perennials, along with many ornamental grasses, are still looking good. Their seed heads will also provide food for birds and add sculptural interest over winter, so leave pruning until spring.
Cutting back geum