...or at least a neater plant!
Janet the child once asked a neighbor, "May I cut some flowers
from your garden?" She was actually acting on a dare, and expected
a cranky, "No, certainly not!"
Instead, Irene Grossman said, "Sure honey! Let me show you
Overwhelmed as they moved along the border and her bucket became
very full, Janet said, "Oh I can't take all of those!"
Irene said, "Oh, but you can. The more flowers I cut, the more I
get. And," she said, using her scissors to make one particularly
mighty cut, "sometimes I chop them right back to start over. Even
if they don't bloom again, at least they come back neater!"
What we see at a young age, sticks.
So we're bold in cutting back, and are glad to show you what
So we show it to you now in Geranium hybrids,
perennial Salvia, and others.
Perennial geranium/Cranesbill/ Geranium hybrids
We should have cut these plants back three weeks ago but the
owner said, "Oh, don't they're so pretty." Just like a perennial
geranium, to be past bloom and really not pretty anymore,
but able to woo a viewer!
Below, left: We tried to obey but we did make a couple of
sneaky cuts where we thought they wouldn't be noticed. See the new
foliage coming there now?
Below, right: Today, we cut all the rest back. See what we
mean by "We cut it all the way to the ground?"
Above: That new foliage will come, no matter what. See the
new grown above the old in this August 1 photo? We find it simpler
to make one clean cut. If we let the plant grow and leave the
blooming stems to the bitter end we must sort out new from old as
we cut. Tedious!
Note to the gardener who recently reported to us that she's
looked for this kind of advice but hasn't found it in books: It's
in our books and you will find it in others. You'll have to look
hard enough, because it's not the prettiest thing to feature in a
photo. Publishers decide which photos to publish, and they know
that pretty photos are what sell books."
Perennial salvia/ Salvia
It bloomed and now it's flopped open. It's such a willing
performer, it will grow new blooming stems even without
cutting. See - they're starting already.
Once we cut it back there will be just these few little
shoots but they very quickly grow back.
See these pots of Salvia superba at the garden
center? Just about spent. The staff will take them to the back,
chop them to nothing, keep them watered, and set them back out for
a second chance at adoption once they've filled back in and resumed
In back issues we show and list many others you can treat this
way: Columbine, perennial bachelor button, coreopsis...
What's Coming Up 97, coverage begins on page 9
Coming Up 148, start at page 11