Bob and Mary Ann Schwarz are another winner of the Yard of the Month at 613 Sessions Ave. Their front yard garden can be seen easily from the street.
Their back yard is filled with mainly shade-loving plants like hosta, perennial geranium and they use Hydrangea as a hedge against a white fence. They told me that they have been working on the garden for the past fifty years, so I’m glad we can finally recognize their gardening efforts.
Also known as the Chelsea Chop, cutting back certain plants by 1/3 to 1/2 is a common practice to maintain control and size in the garden.
One of the things I’ve noticed with native plants is that when you find them in parks with poor native soils, lots of competition, no extra water other than the rain and certainly no fertilizer, they seem to maintain a diminished size. Once you buy that same plant and put it into good garden soil with compost, fertilizer, lots of space and plenty of water, the native turns from dwarf to GIANT. In the past, I end up staking many of these plants just so they don’t fall over.
I am making a conscious effort this year, around May 15th, to cut back all of these giants by 1/2.
Here’s a list of plants which I plan to trim back.
Downy Skullcap (Scutellaria incana)
Echnacea purprea – Purple coneflower – only doing this with some so I can get some later blooms.
Helianthus silphioides – Silphium Sunflower – 2020 N
Heliopsis helianthoides – Ox-eye Sunflower
New England Aster
Oligoneuron rigidum – Rigid Goldenrod
Salvia – cutting back half of the plants.
Senna marilandica – Wild Senna
Solidago rigida or Oligoneuron rigidum – Rigid Goldenrod
Vernonia p. Ironweed
Veronica – cutting back half of the plants.
Here’s a video on the technique.
Technique #2 – Pinching Your Plants
Many annuals and some perennials can have more branches and blossoms by simply cutting back the main stems – called pinching since you can use your fingers to make the cut.
When you pinch the main stems, you usually force the plant to send out side shoots which will make the plant bushier and increase flower production.
Here’s a good video on the process.
Technique #3 – Chop half the plants.
I noticed one year that the bunnies had taken a liking to some of my echinacea and kept them trimmed low most of the early part of the season. While most of my echinacea bloomed normally, the bunny-trimmed echinacea bloomed later in the summer and into the fall. I thought I’d try this technique by chopping back half of my echinacea so I theoretically will have echinacea blooming all year round.
Diana Linsley is the newest winner of the Yard of the Month and is located on Larsen Lane.
She was recently awarded a grant by the WildOnes and had the club come over and install the garden in one morning. All plants are natives which is part of the WildOnes.org mission. They have a number of free garden designs which might be helpful when setting up your native garden. Attached is a link to the St Louis chapter of Wildones https://stlwildones.org/
The Crestwood Beautification Committee wants to help Crestwood citizens make their neighborhoods more beautiful. We are offering to help neighborhood volunteers fund their projects.
If you would like to beautify the entrances or common areas or islands in your neighborhood, the Beautification Committee will assist you by paying 50% of the total costs up to a maximum of $500.00 per project. For example – if your total anticipated project cost is $400.00, you could receive $200.00 from the grant. If you have higher project costs expected, such as $1400.00 you would only receive the maximum grant amount of $500.00.
This grant program is not intended to be the sole source of funding for your project, rather it is to supplement other resources you have secured for the project. These resources might include raising funds through fundraising, in-kind donations or cash contributions.
Previous projects may apply again to help with replacement plants and supplies.
If you are interested, fill out an application. You don’t have to be a member of any committee to do this. All you have to do is organize some of your neighbors to contribute their effort to get the project done. This can be a way to make new friends or have some fun working together with old friends to improve your neighborhood (and its property value)!
In addition to the funding, The Beautification Committee will help you with getting started, designing the project and ideas for fundraising. However, the neighborhood volunteers will be in charge of their project. We encourage groups to use native plants if possible. https://www.moprairie.org/GrowNative
For all projects, the Beautification Committee must approve designs in order for neighborhoods to receive funds. Designs also must comply with city ordinances. (A list of city ordinances can be found on our website.)