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DO YOU WANT LONGER BLOOM TIME FROM PERENNIALS?
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Lark
Wisconsin zone 4/5
2279 Posts
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June 23, 2011 - 6:33 am

Cutting back is the secret, rule of thumb is usually July 4. You still have alittle time to cut back summer blooming perennials.  When I have large clumps of a perennial I cut back by 1/3 .The uncut part will bloom first and then the cut part will bloom later. If you deadhead the uncut part that too will bloom again and that means later bloom. This will give me color in that spot for about 8 weeks. Time consuming but oh so worth it. Check out the book 'The Well Tended Perennial Garden' by Tracy Disabato-Aust.  She has  ALOT OF GREAT techniques!!

Dousman, Wisconsin, zone 5

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Lark
Wisconsin zone 4/5
2279 Posts
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July 15, 2014 - 4:46 pm

Deadheading (snipping off old flowers) your annuals and perennials is a MUST DO if you want your containers and gardens blooming a longer time.

 

I always walk my landscape with a GARDEN SCISSORS.  At least once daily I make this a habit.  It keeps the gardens looking tidy and promotes more blooms on most perennials.

Dousman, Wisconsin, zone 5

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ravenhairone715
Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin
5 Posts
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April 22, 2016 - 9:03 pm

Hi Lark,

 

I am so excited I found your website. I also live in Wisconsin.I was fortunate to buy a house in 2015 with two perennial gardens. We moved in end of June last year and the gardens were not cut back in spring.  I didn't know you could do spring trimming all the way to July 4th. I have a lot of Sedum and Delphinium. I was told by a neighbor to make sure I cut back the Sedum, Delphinium and Bee Balm by end of June. Is there ever a time that you have found you have cut back to soon? Thank you.

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KeyWee54
Western Kentucky Zone 7a
616 Posts
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April 23, 2016 - 6:17 am

Welcome Raven!  I am Lark's gardening pal although I live in KY zone 7a.  You can always cut back your flowering perennials once the blooms fade ~ just snip those off, and you may or may not get a rebloom depending on the plant and the length of the growing season.  I have a bit more luck with reblooming here because our growing season is so long (April-October).  

It's very exciting to have a new home AND with existing perennial beds.  I had a blank slate here when we moved from Kenosha County in 2005, and it was tons of fun adding to the landscape.  Where are you located in WI?

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Lark
Wisconsin zone 4/5
2279 Posts
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April 24, 2016 - 3:09 pm

Hi Raven,

The neighbor that suggested to cut back until the 4th of July is correct in a way.  Some perennials that usually bloom in late Summer and Autumn can handle a 'cut back'.  It will cause them to bloom shorter and a little later.  I do this type of 'cutting back'.  If I have a large clump of summer phlox, I will leave the center its normal height and cut back the outer edge of this plant.  This will allow me to have color in this spot for a longer period of time. The center will bloom first and then the outside edge that you 'cut back' will bloom later and shorter.  I then 'deadhead' the center old blooms and if the season is long and warm enough, this center will bloom again.  Now I just have had this perennial bloom for several months.  :0)  Deadheading and cutting back is a routine I do every year to keep color in my landscape from April through October with perennials. 

There is a wonderful book that teaches this technique and much more, called 'The Well Tended Perennial Garden', by Tracy Disabato-Aust.  Not much on beautiful flower pictures BUT an EXCELLENT reference book.  In fact it is the only book I have kept for the last 20 years.

Like KeyWee said it is VERY exciting to have a new home AND some existing flower beds.  We are all anxious to here about your gardening season and journey through this new adventure.  HAPPY GARDENING, Raven.

Dousman, Wisconsin, zone 5

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ravenhairone715
Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin
5 Posts
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April 26, 2016 - 6:42 pm

Hey Lark and Keywee,

 

I am located in wonderful Chippewa Falls. Thank you for the recommendation of the box. I will definitely look into it. I know last year the Phlox and Bee Balm were so tall I had to tie them with string. I wanted to trim down some flowers so they weren't so tall and falling over.

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ravenhairone715
Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin
5 Posts
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April 30, 2016 - 7:44 pm

Hello,

 

I am borrowing The Well-Tended Perennial Garden from the library and I love it. I will be purchasing my own copy in the next week or so.

 

Lark do you trim back your Delphinium in the spring? I have one set of them in one of my gardens and last year they got so tall they towered way above all my other plants. They look a little out of place.

 

Has anyone else's plants seem like they are growing at warp speed this year? I am wonder if I will have to trim back in May?

 

And lastly I am thinking of putting cedar chips in my gardens to help with the weeds. Has anyone just put the chips down without the plastic or gardening material that is supposed to deter weeds? I think trying to put down the material before the chips would be painstaking going around all the flowers. Any advice is appreciated.

 

Til next time.  q

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KeyWee54
Western Kentucky Zone 7a
616 Posts
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May 1, 2016 - 6:13 am

Raven ~ YES!!  Warp-speed is a great way of putting it.  With all the rain and cooler (for us) temps this spring, plants (and weeds) are going crazy!!  

 

I never use landscaping fabric or plastic ~ it is just a big pain for me.  Here in KY, insects chew holes in it and weeds come up anyway, or they just grow on top.  My alternative is to just have SO many plants, that I really don't need too much mulch.  I wouldn't use any of the dyed varieties either ~ unless you really love the color and have to have it.  Especially not the black as it gets too hot here and burns the plants.  If you want to mulch, use something that breaks down and augments the soil, since you will need to replace it periodically anyway.  Lark will probably have a better recommendation on what she uses in her landscape.

 

I will have to look for that perennial book in the library.  My garden is pretty wild and I like it to look like it just "happened" so I am not too sure if "well-tended" is my thing.  Will check it out!

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KeyWee54
Western Kentucky Zone 7a
616 Posts
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9
May 1, 2016 - 6:17 am

http://www.helpfulgardener.com.....38;t=67843

 

Raven ~ here is a great link on gardeners talking about landscaping fabric.  Some good ideas too.  Just saw this today and thought of you!

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Lark
Wisconsin zone 4/5
2279 Posts
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May 2, 2016 - 6:16 pm

Raven, I am glad you liked the book.  It will help you learn how to have color for a longer period of time.  And you can manage the height also, but not on Spring blooming plants.  No, I do not cut back the Delphiniums.  Just stake each stalk. Cry

Absolutely no landscape fabric.  If you want to control the weeds use thick newspaper layers or cardboard/  It is ridiculous to put down fabric, then mulch.  The mulch breaks down to beautiful dirt and weeds grow on top of the mulch that has fabric underneath. It is very, very hard to pull up fabric after the mulch breaks down.  Your garden would love to be mulched with bark.  Just push the bark aside when digging a hole to plant something.  Then push the bark back around the plant.  DO NOT dig bark into the soil.  Just leave on top.

Yes, the plants in the gardens are HUGE.  My allium foliage is so big and lush. Sure hope the blooms are big too.

Happy gardening!

Dousman, Wisconsin, zone 5

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