Divide and Conquer

Now’s the time to divide plants.

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One nice thing about transplanting perennials in the fall is that the plants are about to die back anyway, so even if they have a bit of a shock and their leaves struggle or wither, they’re likely to come back in the spring just fine.

Talk of green thumbs can give the impression that plants are very fragile, but they’re not. I separated huge bunches of daylilies this week. Other than making sure the roots weren’t in the air long enough to dry out, I didn’t give them any special treatment, and was in fact a bit rough with them. I used a nice sharp shovel to cut through the clumps of roots, pulled the plants apart, then into the ground they went.

I don’t have any real design plan for my gardens, so when I separate perennials and move them around I make my best guess as to what might work in a given location. After a few years of doing this things start to come together, maybe not in a way that would end up in any magazines, but in a way I’m happy with. In gardening the fun really is in the process – the digging, the planning, the daydreaming – not only in the end result.

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