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The Well-Tended Perennial Garden : Planting & Pruning Techniques
With more than 180,000 copies sold since its original publication, The Well-Tended Perennial Garden has proven itself to be one of the most useful tools a gardener can have. Now, in this expanded edition, there's even more to learn from and enjoy.
This is the first, and still the most thorough, book to detail essential practices of perennial care such as deadheading, pinching, cutting back, thinning, disbudding, and deadleafing, all of which are thoroughly explained and illustrated. More than 200 new color photographs have been added to this revised edition, showing perennials in various border situations and providing images for each of the entries in the A-to-Z encyclopedia of important perennial species. In addition, there is a new 32-page journal section, in which you can enter details, notes, and observations about the requirements and performance of perennials in your own garden.
Thousands of readers have commented that The Well-Tended Perennial Garden is one of the most useful and frequently consulted books in their gardening libraries. This new, expanded edition promises to be an even more effective ally in your quest to create a beautiful, healthy, well-maintained perennial garden.
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April 20, 2011
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Excerpt from The Well-Tended Perennial Garden by Tracy DiSabato-Aust
Deadheading"Dont Be a Deadhead" is the title of one of my more popular lectures about pruning perennials and preparing planting beds. When I was preparing this talk for a mixed audience of both professionals and homeowners I asked my husband to listen to it and give me his opinion, representing the very novice gardener. In his usual, patient way he waited until I was completely finished with the one-hour discussion, and then said, "you better tell them what a deadhead is."Fortunately no one left the room during my first talk when they found out that I was discussing the removal of old or spent dead flowers and not old or spent rock n rollers (although the latter does sound somewhat more intriguing). I have been called the "deadhead queen" by various colleagues because of my work with pruning Im not sure if there is any deeper meaning to this ... Deadheading is beneficial to most herbaceous ornamental plants. Usually there is deadheading to be done from spring to killing frost. Youll enjoy the process more and are less likely to feel overwhelmed if you keep up with it. There are many reasons for deadheading. Primarily, deadheading can prolong the bloom period for plants on which the flowers open over a period of several weeks, or it can initiate a second flush of smaller, sometimes shorter and less numerous blooms on plants that have a single heavy bloom (see Appendix C, lists 14 and 15). It can improve the overall appearance of the plant, giving a fresh new look to an otherwise finished or even distracting item (see Appendix C, list 16). It can persuade biennials to behave like perennials. It can prevent self-seeding. I also like to remove deadheads or seed-heads that weigh down the plants foliage. Seed production can drain a plants energy, and consequently, with certain perennials it can cause the foliage to deteriorate. Deadheading can promote vegetative and root growth rather than seed production and help retain the plants healthy appearance.The age of a plant greatly influences its deadheading needs. New plants give the gardener a grace period by requiring less frequent deadheading in their first year in the garden. The honeymoon, so to speak, is over after that first year, however, as deadheading hits full force the second season. Weather also greatly affects deadheading from season to season, with cool, moist weather extending the bloom life and sweltering heat and pelting rain decreasing it.Basic Deadheading MethodsHow to deadhead depends on the particular growth habit of the plant. The most common question I hear from people is "how far down do I prune?" Sometimes you need to remove individual dead flowers one at a time, or remove whole clusters of dead flowers, or cut off the entire flowering stalk or scape. Due to the fact that deadheading, as with other forms of pruning, is so species-specific, it is diffcult to categorize or group plants into neat compartments. A key thing to look for when deadheading is