As we’re preparing for winter around the farm, it’s tempting to “clean-up” the perennial borders by cutting all the weedy stalks and seed heads off. But, by doing less and leaving medium to tall perennials in place, we can provide winter food for the birds and observe them more too.
Leave perennials like asters, black-eyed Susans, butterfly weed, coneflowers, Joe-Pye weed, oat grass, and goldenrod standing in the fall garden after they finish blooming. Cardinals, finches, and sparrows will harvest seed while clinging to the stalks; and juncos or towhees will harvest seed from the ground.
Even after the seeds have all been harvested, the spent perennials still provide nourishment for the birds. Chickadees, [...]
Continue reading Keep Stalky Perennials to Feed Birds
Fall is the best time to divide spring and summer blooming perennials – they’re finished putting energy into blooming, and new divisions will re-establish quickly during the cooler, wetter fall weather. Dividing helps control the size of plants, rejuvenates them, and increases the number of plants for your garden.
For fall blooming perennials, it’s generally better to wait until spring to divide. By dividing plants when they’re not blooming, they can put all their energy into root and leaf growth.
What Plants to Divide
Most perennials should be divided every three to five years. It’s best to divide plants when they still look good, [...]
Continue reading Fall Division of Spring & Summer Blooming Perennials
I’m not sure my container plantings are always gorgeous, but they usually turn out pretty nice due to one trick I learned years ago – use at least one “thriller”, “filler”, and “spiller” when planting the container. And if you’ve got room, throw in a “chiller” to make it exciting. I read about the concept long ago, but every year as I’m picking out plants for containers, it seems someone asks how I go about planning a beautiful container planting.
This photo shows a container that was planted a couple of days ago, but demonstrates the concept. The “thriller” in this case is a Spike Dracena [...]
Continue reading Creating Beautiful Container Plantings (thrillers, fillers, & spillers)
Memorial Day weekend corresponds with our wedding anniversary; so we’re usually off somewhere celebrating. In the past, we’ve traveled exotic places, seen spectacular scenery, and attended great events. But this year we decided to stay put; and since we rarely enjoy a Memorial Day weekend at home, some photographs seemed appropriate.
The cats, Sugar and Spice, are the ones I miss first when we travel, but I also worry about them least – they’re pretty self-sufficient. They’re sisters from the same litter, although you’d never know it by looking at them.
One reason for staying put this year was to get some ongoing projects done. One of these was installing an automatic chicken-coop opener. With it installed, the chicken coop hatch automatically opens when the sun [...]
Continue reading Memorial Day Weekend