Garden lore

The more one gardens, the more one learns; and the more one learns, the more one realises how little one knows. I suppose the whole of life is like that

by Vita Sackville-West.
(1892-1962)

Farfugium tussilagineum argenteum - standing up well after being dug and divided last autumn

Farfugium tussilagineum argenteum – standing up well after being dug and divided last autumn

Digging and dividing

While the advice is freely given to dig and divide perennials, it is often the garden task that slips so far down that it falls off the to-do list because it is rarely urgent. If you have clumping, leafy plants which are either dying back in the centre or flopping all over the ground, that is a sign that they will benefit from being lifted, divided into smaller pieces which are then cleaned up and replanted into well dug and composted soil. This patch of Farfugium tussilagineum argenteum (some of you will know it as a ligularia) received this care and attention last autumn and now it is sitting up looking much more attractive, rather than falling apart with leaves lying on the ground.

In our comparatively mild climate, we can do this pretty much any time of the year though hot, dry summer is best avoided unless you water twice a day. In cold climates, plants can rot out if dug and divided when dormant, so times of growth in spring and summer are usually recommended.

First published in the Waikato Times and reprinted here with their permission.

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