Joe’s care plan
Buying and planting
Look for good-quality, value plants. These are all fast growers, so don’t waste your money on large pots – 1l or 2l plants are fine. This scheme is ideally planted in spring or autumn. How much soil preparation you do will depend on your soil, but they all require a free-draining soil that will retain some moisture and, most importantly, isn’t too rich. Dig over well, remove weeds and incorporate some garden compost.
In early March, cut back the grasses before the new growth appears. Don’t mulch or feed the plants – this stops them putting on lots of soft growth, getting leggy and flopping over. For the first season after planting, water occasionally, but once established most of these plants will cope with long, dry periods. The persicaria will benefit from a little watering. All the plants can be left over winter for their skeletal forms to add interest to the border, although this will depend on how dry the winter is and your local conditions. All these plants can be propagated through division, which is an ideal way of extending the theme if you have room to expand. Leave the grasses until mid-spring to lift and divide. The perennials can be divided in autumn or spring.
Creating seasonal interest
Alliums, such as Allium atropurpureum, the white A. nigrum and Nectaroscordum siculum will work well coming through the emerging grasses.
gardenersworld.com Yarrow’s tall stems and flat heads make it ideal for a prairie-style border The spent seedheads of echinacea add interest to the winter garden
In mid-spring, increase your grass stocks by lifting and dividing