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What do I do with my perennials for the winter?

(7 Posts)
IHeartKingThistle Thu 25-Aug-11 09:44:44

This is the first year in our new house. I cleared a flower bed in the front garden in the spring and planted it with mostly perennials (asters, coreopsis, marguerites, salvias, hardy geraniums and gentians. I've also just bunged in some scabiosa and aquilegias that my dad gave me). Most things have flowered but I suspect some won't until next year as I got them in a bit late. Apart from misjudging the relative height of some things I'm pretty pleased with it so far for a first attempt!

But I am clueless about what to do when it gets cold! Do I have to cut them all back? Is there anything I can put in to make it look less depressing over the winter? (It's a big bed and right in front of the house).

Thanks in advance!

TheSherbetTurbot Sun 04-Sep-11 18:19:00

Well done, kingthistle, was just going to post this myself.have the First garden I have ever owned and am learning as I go along. Have had a beautiful show of flowers this year, and cannot face bare earth this winter. Am a bit lost, really!

teta Sun 04-Sep-11 20:02:03

Most of the perennials need to be cut back now.But there are exceptions such as penstemmon which need to be cut back in spring [as do some clematis].I am planting primulas and lots of bulbs in clumps in beds and planting up pots with orange violas and purple tulips to distract from the rather grim winter weather.What worked for me last year was pots with layers of different bulbs so i had continual colour from febuary onwards,This year i am also planting up baskets with purple violas and ivy for the front of the house.If you want colour soon plant autumn crocus and winter pansies.I am by no means an expert so perhaps someone else will be along to help with more suggestions.

blabalalalablabla Sun 04-Sep-11 20:16:55

I wouldn't cut your perennials back now probably later september (that does depend on which part of the country you're in though). If you have some with interesting seed heads then keep them over winter.

Have you kept the guidance labels that came with them? If not google to see when is best to cut back. Most perennials will need mulching in the spring to give them a boost for summer flowers.

Some winter bedding will give you a burst of colour over the winter - or in a few weeks think about putting some bulbs in so you get some spring colour. If you plan it well you could have snowdrops and crocus, followed by daffodils, then tulips, and then just as your perennials are starting to come to life have some alliums poking through.

IHeartKingThistle Mon 05-Sep-11 01:27:38

Oh some advice, thankyou! Yep I am planning to put in millions of bulbs.

How much do I cut them back?

blabalalalablabla Mon 05-Sep-11 20:13:29

Good guidance from the rhs - hope that helps?

IHeartKingThistle Tue 06-Sep-11 18:32:32

That's great, thankyou!

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