Friday, August 19, 2011 | | Annuals, dahlia, Display Garden, How, When, What-we-do, perennials, Sanguisorba tenuifolia, staking, tall perennials, tools, what's blooming
I think I might have an inkling of how parents feel when they realize that their babies have grown up. It seems like the garden is suddenly full of teenagers. I have to crane my neck to look at some of them and a few are clumsily in my way or gangly with giant feet and terrible posture. They need prompting and prodding to stand up straight just like I did when I was 14 going on 30. And same as then I still have crushes on the tallest… plants.
We’ve been diligently staking the dahlias all along, mostly by tying them to sturdy bamboo stakes. They’re so brittle and top heavy that it’s definitely easier to stake them long before they actually need it. In the cutting garden we use concrete reinforcement mesh, raised up on metal peony hoop stakes to help prop up the slouchers. – That system really works the best for plants that have been rowed out. And of course the trick with staking is hiding the stakes to make it look like nothing ever needed staking in the first place.
We used to lash burnet (Sanguisorba tenuifolia) against a fence to keep it from falling over and now that it’s out in the middle of the pollinator bed, I’ve tried sliding the beefiest bamboo stakes diagonally into the ground to give the stems something to lean on. I have to readjust the props almost daily especially if it’s been windy or rainy but I prefer the loose look of that to corralling the stems with string. It’s funny that they have such terrible posture given the grace and airiness of the flowers and how big their feet are (the larges foliage is at the base.)
And if I had remembered how big anise hyssop gets (we planted Agastache ‘Black Adder’ this year) I might not have placed it right next to the path. It stands up straight on its own but we’ve had to push it back with stakes (same method as the burnet) because it and its legion of bees are in everybody’s way.
Do you love the tall plants too? What do you do to improve their posture?