Monday, October 12, 2015

In a pinch

After reading a review of The Well-Tended Perennial Garden at the gardeninacity blog, I picked up the book from our local library. Then I took it back. Tracy DiSabato-Aust's techniques looked like too much work. But unhappy with the way my yard looks, I took the book out again late this summer. Perennial maintenance still looks like a lot of work, but now I feel more willing to make the effort. Not that I have yet, but my interest and motivation are growing.

Last week, I installed 32 transplants from Prairie Nursery on the south side of the house. They didn't quite fill the space available, so to plug the holes I moved some of my established plants, including the New England Aster 'Purple Dome'. I've never pinched this plant back, but a volunteer specimen growing next to the rhubarb bed received a whacking or two from my grass trimmer before I let it go.

"Pinched" New England Aster 'Purple Dome'

As you can see, the "pinched" plant is not only shorter and less straggly looking, the blossoms appear denser. The one left to its own devices needs a makeover. (Truth be known, it was also competing with a clump of yarrow gone wild, which I'm sure did not help.)

"Unpinched" New England Aster 'Purple Dome'

My yard will always look unkempt to the fans of "meatball" shrubbery, but I am becoming a convert to controlled chaos. As the newbies in this bed become established, the more mature plants will need to be held in check. Guess what book is going on my xmas list.

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