Joe’s care plan

Gardeners' World - - Prairie Border -

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.

Year-round main­te­nance

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.

gar­den­er­ 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

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