Tuesday, May 15, 2007

There's pruning and then there's pruning

"The Well-Tended Perennial Garden, Planting and Pruning Techniques" by Tracy DiSabato-Aust is well-regarded and I can see why. She's obviously a knowledgeable gardener with a lot of experience. Her notes on each plant offer good suggestions for when to prune and what to expect when you do (often a second blush of bloom). I made notes on a couple ideas: remember to cut down biennials immediately after blooming to get another year out of them; cut back old flowering stems of Pulmonaria for a fresher-looking plant; cut back perovskia in early spring, down to live buds, which can be 6" or more above ground; feed astilbe in early October with 20-10-10, it's a heavy feeder.

But she's a great believer in pruning so that you get smaller flowers later in the season. Makes some sense if you can avoid staking, but otherwise it seems fussy and artificial to me. Also, she seems to prefer huge sweeps of the same plant, which looks institutional in my opinion. Interesting, but not an addition to my garden library.

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