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Report From PIA – August 24

As you regular readers know, this is the end of our third summer on Poison Ivy Acres. All of the gardens here are new (and frankly, I think they look pretty damn awesome) so the main plantings have been put in the ground and now it’s a matter of tweaking.  And filling in.

Putting in the first round of perennials, shrubs and trees is a first step, and after these are planted a layer of mulch is perfect for amending soil, holding in moisture and keeping weeds at bay for awhile. As those first plants grow and fill in, less mulch is necessary of course, but until they reach a more mature width, either a layer of woodchips or bark mulch is helpful.

Planting an understory of low, weed-smothering plants is, I think, the next step in so many of my gardens. I’ve already got Sedum, Geranium macrorrhizum, Epimedium and Prunella vulgaris that are getting established in a couple of areas, and I’m looking for others low-growing plants that will fill in but not take over.

Groundcovers aside, I’m thinking that we often move from the more spectacular and sexy first to the dependable and utilitarian. In and out of the garden, the former are likely to what we’re drawn to first, but the latter are what we come to appreciate long term.

I love the Panicum 'Ruby Ribbons' and the 'Raspberry' hardy hibiscus, and have placed other perennials in the area, but there is still far too much mulch here.

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