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Your Perennial Garden: a Maintenance-Free Zone? Cont.  

Staking perennials is, for many, as much a chore as weeding. Different types of perennials have different requirements:

 1.Delphiniums and other tall-stemmed perennials should be tied loosely to a cane when 8-9 inches tall.

2.Clumps of perennials, tall asters and astilbes for instance, benefit from link of ring
stakes which can be raised as the plant grows.

But, as with weeding so with staking: why not obviate the need for staking in the first place by choosing free-standing perennials such as hardy geraniums, day lilies and columbine? Alternatively, look out for the newer, more compact versions of old favorites like delphiniums and asters which, when used together with free-standing plants, will still provide you with a wonderful display but little work.

Finally, when plants have finished their display, the dead foliage and stems need tidying up and cutting back to the base. But is this all strictly necessary in the fall? Why not leave attractive stems and flowerheads to overwinter in the garden? The rimed forms of asters, sedums and phlomis look truly spectacular in a winter landscape as do the tough plumes and spikelets of grasses. If given a little protection, grasses, like miscanthus offer a welcome sight of warm beiges and browns while the yellow-striped carex and red-tinged hakonechloa persist throughout the winter. In keeping with the principle "little and often", finish tidying up before new shoots appear. That's not too bad, is it?

So, to sum up: plant with care and choose your plants with care. In this way you will enjoy a perennial garden that offers the best of both worlds: maintenance-lite but still offering a visual delight even in the depths of winter.

Maureen Cook shows you how you can enjoy a perennial garden that's maintenance-lite but still offers a visual delight.Find out more about Perennial Garden, Click Here.

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