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Letter from the Editor:

Stay outside
Don’t stop gardening for the dog days — plant perennials

If you think July is time to slack off in the garden, think again. Summertime is the perfect time to jumpstart your perennial garden.

Spring and fall used to be the prime times to plant perennials. Forget that rule, says Steven Still, executive director of the non-profit Perennial Plant Association ( which annually chooses the Perennial of the Year.

The use of plastic containers to grow and sell perennials means plants come with substantial root systems, and are always ready to make themselves right at home in your garden. These established root balls are a far cry from the days when perennials were marketed bare-root or field-dug.

No matter when you plant perennials, give them a home amended with 4 inches of organic matter per 12 inches of soil depth to ensure good drainage and root growth. Keep them watered when there is no rainfall; mulch them to suppress weeds and conserve moisture.

Survey your perennials. See what you have, what you should have and go shopping. Old-time favorites and new varieties offer you a sequential show of special flowering performers for the sultry summer season, says Steven.

Kathy Van Mullekom, editor
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July 2001

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