Now is the time of year when some areas of the garden can start to look overgrown and weedy. In my gardens, the spring and early summer perennials are done blooming for the year but their foliage is still bushy.
The foliage of these overgrown plants is hiding the stuff that’s blooming now, taking the focus off them. If left unkempt, the gardens can start to look very tired by mid-summer. This can be a big frustration for some gardeners who don’t know how to keep their gardens looking tidy.
To keep your gardens looking tidy, trim back spent perennials. This will also help to make the current bloomers stand out and to keep things tidy through the summer. Some plants that are trimmed will even start to get new growth and fill out again, looking revitalized.
Here are a few examples of garden areas I tidied up…
Now the day lilies, variegated yucca and rudbeckia really stand out and it looks much cleaner.
Here is another example…
In this picture, the overgrown plant in the middle is catmint.
Like the salvia above, it is done blooming for the summer and looks very overgrown.
Time for a haircut!
A couple days after doing this, the oriental lily (far left center) that was buried under the catmint started blooming like crazy.
There was also a bell flower hidden under there that I forgot I even had (I think I’ll move that)!
Here are a few tips that I hope will help you in your quest to keep your mid-summer gardens looking tidy…
- Don’t cut the foliage all the way down to the ground this early in the season, unless it has died back. Plants need their foliage in order to build energy for blooming next year.
- Keep in mind that if you’re planning on collecting seeds, you will want to leave the flower heads on the plant so they can set seed.
- If you’re not planning on collecting the seeds, then it’s best to deadhead (cut off the dead flower heads) your plants when they are done blooming. This encourages the plant to concentrate it’s energy on new foliage growth rather than spending it’s energy producing seed.