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 how."
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!"
So we're bold in cutting back, and are glad to show you what happens next.
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!
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."
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 blooming.
In What's Coming Up 148, start at page 11
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