Divide & Destroy for Rejuvenation

by nicole on March 21, 2015

A friend of mine who lived in Florida told me gardening there was all about cutting it down.  Plants just get too big and choke themselves out. To keep them lush, gardeners are constantly cutting them back  or dividing the root systems.

We have to do this here too just on a less frequent  basis. lilac and allium 14

 Buckets  of Liliacs and Alliums

I have some really old lilac  here in the side of my house.  This spring I have decided to prune it back in order to make it more productive in the long run. I am getting rid of  branches that are to0 craggy, too old or split; overall are not producing good cutting stems. 10376721_10155384286545492_2120082327074774221_n

This was inspired by a talk from Karl Vahrmeyer Jr., who runs a family-owned nursery and cut ornamental branch farm: Green Park Nurseries.  He described cutting tons of lilacs, hydrangeas, spirea, viburnum, willows, and Ilex  a year.  He takes down his lilacs down to the ground with a chainsaw every 4 yrs or so.  He made me realize my conservative  ways are holding back the blooms. So  I am selectively cutting down.10922595_10155374338405492_5372057390621809341_n

I am also divided huge crates of dahlia tubers. Every fall we dig up 1/3 of  them  and store them.  Each year  you have to divide them because the clusters are huge.  I can get 3-8  plants from one cluster.  So down to the dungeon I go with felcos plastic bags and peat to divide them all.  IMG_2134

I have at least 300 Cafe au Lait tuber divisions which is more  tubers of any variety I have ever saved. Everyone wants this dahlia, so the more I grow the longer stems I can cut. It has taken 3 years  to create this pile of tubers.

Robin hood dah

Most other varieties I grow 60 or so plants. Though I am propagating a few coveted varieties from  stem cuttings, mostly peaches. While creating the  pile of tubers I realize I have ordered at lest 125 more tubers.

Linda Ester Linda Ester

Once again I feel I  could just specialize in one kind of flower. But I don’t,  because its too limiting and risky it there is a blight, pest or disease issue.  This season about 1/2 our fields will be covered in dahlias.


In about a month  (I hope) the soil should thaw  and we should be prepping the beds. So stay tuned.




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