My cutting back period is typically Valentine’s Day to St. Patrick’s Day and this week I chose to cut back lavender, my bird topiary, and a bunch of grasses, so I can prepare for planting.

Before lavender is cut back

Lavender is one of those evergreen woody ‘perennials’ that needs to be cut back hard every year to regenerate the plant-right down to new growth closest to the center of the plant. Otherwise lavender turns into a twisted mess of wood in about 5 years and you have to replace it.

After being cut back-and even then maybe it could be cut back more sharply.

I trimmed the bird topiary lightly and then took a photo to study its shape. Note my red lines which are the guide for its final trim.

Red lines help guide how I’d like to improve its shape.

Even dried grasses have a wintry presence. Wait until late winter to cut back.

Big, bold grasses add structure even during the winter.
Smaller grasses add texture and increase the definition of evergreen shrubs.

When I trim grasses, I do so knowing the trimmings will be chopped and used as mulch, not taken away to become compost elsewhere.

Plenty of grasses mean plenty of mulch for plants that need protection from evaporation during hotter days.
One last thing to remember, there’s a different technique for cutting back herbaceous grasses from evergreen grasses. On the left is Japanese Blood Grass (and prefers moist soil). It turns brown in winter. Cut it back to about 3″. On the right is Sesleria autumnalis (which tolerates drier soil). It is evergreen but has some die-back which makes it unattractive. Cut it back to 6″. Don’t cut it too short or it can die from crown rot.

Found: Missing Blogger

Found in Scotland at the Outlander Lallybrock site. September 2018.

It has been years since I have written a blog post. I stopped when I was discouraged by my software computer issues and I was too busy with work. So I never quite got back to it. I spent the time I did have on shorter posts on Facebook which has taught me some lessons. One in particular is to limit the focus and keep it short if you want more readers. Recently I decided to hire some help. Enter stage right: Susan Langenes. So expect a more updated look very soon as we work out issues.

My blog will continue to focus on garden design and gardening through the lens of a garden designer and long-term gardener. Mind you, I am not a horticulturist, so don’t expect me to know every species and cultivar of Arctostaphylos. But I will write about what’s happening in my garden, particularly with respect to why I’m making changes or creating something new. Don’t gardens deserve to remain fresh and relevant while they still remain true to their sense of place? I will also write about gardens I create for others, gardens I visit, garden shows, and new garden books. And I will keep posts brief so it takes you less than 5 minutes to read them. Like this one.

So stay tuned.