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propagating perennials: Gardening
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Tuesday, February 26, 2008


If you are a new homeowner whose never had a garden before make certain you don’t undertake too much at first or you will get depressed. Digging up sod to plant a garden is labor intensive, plus you need to put the dug up sod someplace. Secondly if you never planted in a garden go to a local garden center to see what plants they are selling. Not a big box store, although HD does have a magazine of plant material, it costs, to get an idea of how large plants can get, because even when you purchase a one gallon container that is not indicative of a mature plant. Also be aware that ground covers can spread enormously if you have the proper soil conditions so pruning every year is a necessity. I like euonymous, contoneaster and juniper because they will eventually cover a wide expanse and although it is necessary to have contrast in a garden bed, perennial, deciduous, and evergreen you must take into account the plants spreading abilities and prune during the dormant or winter season. Depending on the plant variety it is also good to clump three varieties together to get a visual impact. I myself do not like to plant varieties that many people shape because it ruins the overall effect of the garden bed, plus it draws attention to the sheared plant, good in a formal garden but not in a natural setting as most homeowners are trying to attain. Some perennials can be raised from seed but unless you have the proper lighting and bottom heat your task might not be rewarded. Ask a friend or neighbor if you can get “a piece” of a plant from their garden to root yourself. Rooted cuttings of woody or evergreen plants are also time consuming. I like hemlock but that is a plant that is finicky to root. It must be done in August and taken from old wood and unless you have a greenhouse or cold frame the odds of success are nil. I have Eastern Redbud and their seeds are blown far and wide so look for seedlings sprouting up around your property. The same for dogwood and crape myrtle at least in NC. If you have good soil conditions the odds are great seedlings will sprout up in the most unlikely places and not necessarily near the parent plant.

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