Plant volunteers: what’s not to love? (Hint: it’s blue)

catchfly on path

Vivid pink catchfly is the big volunteer in my garden this year. It’s getting a little out of hand, to tell the truth, but it looks so good right now I can’t bear to take it out.

My dear departed Mom didn’t love forget-me-nots, which still volunteer to bloom in my garden every year. “They’re invasive weeds. You’ll be sorry if you don’t rip them out,” she’d advise emphatically whenever she saw them showing their little blue faces among my spring bulbs. Continue reading

Give your garden new life with a plant haircut

I feel bad about my hair the day before I go to my stylist. A trim, little or big, does wonders for my looks as well as my spirit.

This is also true of the garden in midsummer. Cutting out faded leaves, dead flowers and leggy greenery, sometimes even removing unwanted plants, gives your garden new life.

Deadheading is a tried and true gardening practise, and while it’s primarily used to promote more flowering, especially with annuals (and sometimes to encourage a second flush of smaller flowers on perennials) snipping off dead and dying flowers improves the looks of most plants. But when plants are really over, it’s time for sterner measures.

By mid-August my daylilies, which have done yeoman service for many weeks, look like roadside weeds, with stiff stalks where the flowers one bloomed and sadly yellowing foliage. As you can see by the before and after shots below, I cut them back heavily. I snip the stiff stalks into short lengths and toss them on the compost along with the yellowing leaves, which usually pull out fairly easily.

daylily before Continue reading