Thursday, July 18, 2013


Perennials in the garden can start to look tatty as the summer goes on. Since they usually only flower once per season, the spent stems and leaves held over from spring look tired and spent. 

On those mornings, or days when the heat relents, the gardener can easily tidy up the garden. Most spring and early summer blooming perennials will send up some fresh leaves from the base in mid-summer. Once that happens, you can go in and remove all other old foliage and stems. Here you can see a few new small leaves at the base of Penstemon digitalis stems, emerging while the seeds ripen.

These photos are taken of a tray of Zizia aurea or Golden Alexander plugs. Zizia is a wonderful native spring bloomer and the seeds are just ripening now in the garden. These plugs were leftover from a garden I designed earlier in the year. 

When you look past the long stems of the spring leaves, you can see the new foliage emerging. Cutting off (not pulling) the old leaves will give you a nice, green leaf for the rest of the season. 
 Remarkably, Zizia foliage was evergreen for me last winter and has wonderful yellow flowers for the bees in spring. You can see the lacy flowers here next to my hydrangea. Zizia may be hard to find, but it's worth your effort to add it to your garden.

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