Perennial Maintenance- Divide, Multiply and Grow Healthy Plants
Its my favorite time of the year when I can get outside and see my garden coming to life leaf by leaf and from bud to bloom! When you have six months of white in Winter seeing color is a feast for my starving eyes! I'm going to share some of the chores I carry out to make my plants thrive while yet keeping weeds under control. How?
I used basic supplies a slow release, granular fertilizer, bone meal, a round nose shovel, garden fork (not shown) wheel barrel, fan rake and a small hand rake and fresh topsoil. I started off very humble in my early gardening days, dollar store tools and dissovable Miracle Grow! My supplies and knowledge grew as my experience grew so please be patient with yourself, I'm still learning after 30 years!
I started to use these vinyl edges about 10 years ago and I learned that bigger is better when it comes to the depth of these. Get the deepest one you can buy, mine have graduated now to a 5 inch depth. The reason why is because I use these as a lawn barrier for my flower bed, the grass roots will burrow down and pop up on the other side if the vinyl is shallow in depth.
Another reason I use the vinyl edging is because I change the outlines of my flower beds from time to time and this product easily allows me to rip it out, regroup and reuse.
This year I had a diseased tree and an invasive shrub seen here so my husband moved in with his excavator and pulled the big tree and its deep roots right outta the bed!
Thus, I was left with a lot of the lawn barrier pulled out of place as well, only happy tears! I will design a new shape and reinstall the barrier....starting from the start!
Since my vinyl barrier is 5 " I needed a trench that deep dug next to my lawn. This is a pre-existing bed so I just used a small hand rake and my gloved hand to push soil away from the installation area. I found it easier to reinstall the whole thing than to do the repositioning of it partially. I began to reinstall the vinyl at the top of the picture and I slowly worked my way down the length of the bed.
So bit by bit the soil was folded back towards the vinyl barrier and patted firmly against it. I positioned it so that it sat flush with the ground level as seen above, only the top edge is in sight. This makes it easy as well when the lawn gets mowed, it can go over the barrier without causing any damage.
The edging is bendable and as a side note curved beds are more natural and interesting to the eye. You can easily join on more due to its design one basically plugs into the previous one and you can continue on. It's easy to cut and its very effective to keep my lawn separated from my flower bed. I didn't extend the length of my bed this time because in recent years I've down sized but I did widen the curve!
I start my bed refresh by removing the enemies, you'll need to learn how to distinguish between a weed and the keeper plant. Weeds often grow very vigorously especially in rich soil, get them out!!! Be sure to get the entire root as well, some will spread through seed others develop runners and spread unseen underneath your soil...they can be nasty! Any weeds that were pulled and debris material was raked up with my large, fan rake as I went along the bed inspecting, dividing and fertilizing my stock. The dead leaves seen there are a valuable asset, I turn them over and mix into my soil because they'll make it rich and loamy.
Perennials need care and attention, some more than others those demanding ones I killed or got rid of years ago! 😃I don't fuss over the plant stock I have now, my husband will dig up a clump with the fork seen above then I tease apart the tangled roots to create several smaller, new plants from the one parent plant. If you enrich your soil like I do with bone meal and or compost your plants will stay healthy and flourish along with a good watering schedule. Its best to water deeply in the mornings, this will encourage the roots to grow deeper and lessen chances of developing bug damage or disease.
During this time of anxiety and uncertainty tending to the garden, being outside breathing fresh air, hearing and watching the birds are all reasons that make it an activity worth it's weight in gold!
I dont plan on extending my garden so what do I do with some of those extra plants that were dug up and divided? I can and have in the past swapped plants with other gardeners to expand our stock variety. They also make wonderful gifts that enable you to share the love!
The flowers were uprooted and sitting aside for a few days until this got completed and hence they needed a period to readjust and settle in from the transplanting. I'm happy to report no lives just a few leaves were lost in all of the uprooting! Shady, cool days are the best weather to be doing removals and transplants. I hope I've given you many reasons to start gardening and pointers for those of you that have already gotten your hands into the mud. Happy Gardening!