What are your criterion for getting rid of plants?

yeonasky(z8b VancouverBC)September 8, 2011

While I love my Nepetas, Walker's Low and another unnamed one, I'm now looking at a whole yard covered in spent flowers. I haven't had time to cut them back, and also feel guilty when I do. I think of any creatures who might use the seed heads and then don't want to take their potential food. So I'm looking at something that doesn't really appeal to me and doing nothing about it. I enjoyed the mixed planting I had of Shasta daisy Becky and Nepeta, but that is done as well.

My goals. I would like to enjoy the garden further into the fall, with more colourful displays. The greyness of the nepetas is what's most unappealing to me.

My thought are:

Shovel Cut back Nepetas and add two other plants of progressively later bloom times, creating groupings of three plants whose bloom time potentially overlap.

Get rid of lots of Nepetas and replace with longer bloomers.

Any thoughts, anyone?

Some info. This is a small garden, and I don't have 8 to 10 foot borders, If I'm lucky I have five feet deep in some places. So the 10 or so Nepetas looks like a lot. I was trying to at least have one plant be spread around to give the garden cohesion. I suppose that the spent flowers everywhere is a type of cohesion. Not the type I wanted, but there you go.



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A not particularly educated or thoughtful response: This is YOUR canvas! If it's not working for you, make a change! Plants aren't so expensive that you can't experiment a little. In a small space, I wouldn't want to dedicate large swaths to plants that didn't bring me a high rate of satisfaction.

Just my two cents. =)

    Bookmark   September 8, 2011 at 6:16PM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

my criteria is simple.. a deep rooted hatred of the plant.. for whatever reason ..

sometimes they get the idea in advance.. and commit suicide ...


    Bookmark   September 8, 2011 at 6:25PM
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Hahahaha--was that pun intentional? Hilarious.

    Bookmark   September 8, 2011 at 6:31PM
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linda_schreiber(z5/6 MI)

I think I love your mind.... [grins]

And Yeola, I like the heart that wants to leave seedheads for the critters, but in Vancouver, they have *lots* of other options. No need. No guilt. Feel free to reduce patches, plant other things, cut back patches when they are going by, just plain get rid of things that don't add much, or that you don't really like. Especially in a smaller garden area, sometimes you have to be just a little ruthless.

I think your idea on creating smaller patches of plants, concentrating on overlapping bloom times... interplanting things that will spread across seasons... is very good. Early spring to late fall.

"Cohesion" and "flow" and "mirroring" are great concepts for large properties, where tying areas together, and leading the eye around, is more important. Not necessary here. Create interest, and color across seasons, so you can enjoy the yard. Hack what needs hacking.

Sounds like you're on the right track.

    Bookmark   September 8, 2011 at 8:23PM
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mxk3(Zone 6 SE MI)

If I don't like it, I have no use for it.

    Bookmark   September 8, 2011 at 9:38PM
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Change is what keeps things interesting.

My shovel-pruning criteria (in no special order):

Doesn't have a long enough season of interest.
Didn't perform as hyped.
Too much maintenance.
Lousy manners.
(and most importantly) Got bored with it.

This past weekend I shovel-pruned a large heirloom shrub rose (Madame Plantier) mostly for reason #1, and to a lesser extent for reasons #3 and #4 (It flowered spectacularly for 7-10 days every mid-spring, then I spent the rest of the growing season pruning to keep it from smothering the garden path, as well as spraying to keep the Japanese beetles from turning it into swiss cheese).

    Bookmark   September 8, 2011 at 11:21PM
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I generally do not get rid of any of the plants except for those that are growing in with my potted plants that have self sowed into the pots. My practice is to let whatever is growing set seed and once the seed has been spent do whatever trimming or pulling up that needs to be done to make the place look presentable. What I have aimed for in my yard is for plants that are perennials or biennials that are as low maintainence as possible.
If it all looks too helter-skelter than selective pulling happens so that the accents I wish to see are visible. Otherwise it is as it all falls.

    Bookmark   September 9, 2011 at 4:13AM
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aachenelf z5 Mpls

I'm a guilt free gardener. If I don't like it for whatever reason, I get rid of it.


I no longer just compost the plant. I usually try to sell it. I've developed a good, little business on Craig's List for getting rid of unneeded divisions, unwanted plants, etc. The last couple of years I've been cutting back on the number of peonies I grow. Instead of just giving them away (or worse), I divide them up and sell the divisions. Usually each plant brings in $50-60. I do have a fondness for peonies, so if I did have any guilt about getting rid of one, at least I know it's going to a new home. (The $$ is nice too.)


    Bookmark   September 9, 2011 at 5:55AM
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yeonasky(z8b VancouverBC)

I think I'll do as suggested and use 3 plant groupings combined with some editing. Thanks for your wonderful answers everyone. Now I get to choose the plants and bulbs. I'm looking forward to that. I am thinking of caryopteris, for its later blooms. I'd have to cut it back, but its leaves are nice at this time of year, which appeals to me.

I don't think I'd really make much money for my Nepeta. But it's a good suggestion for the future.

Thanks for gently reminding me that criterion is singular and criterions or criteria is generally plural.


Here is a link that might be useful: Definition of Criterion

    Bookmark   September 9, 2011 at 10:59AM
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buyorsell888(Zone 8 Portland OR)

If I don't like it any more for whatever reason, it goes....

    Bookmark   September 11, 2011 at 12:11PM
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Too much maintenance

Don't like the color

Too much maintenance

Doesn't like my growing conditions

Too much maintenance

Disease or insect problems

Too much maintenance

    Bookmark   September 11, 2011 at 2:15PM
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I practice a sort of darwinian gardening. I plant something and if it lives, it continues to live there. New plants are then based on being companion of the suriving plants. Plants that require a lot of maintenance will also died because I simply don't have the time.

Plants that spreads too aggressively usually just get trimmed and pulled, unless it the type that's too difficult to trim and pull.


    Bookmark   September 12, 2011 at 8:18AM
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That's good, Paul, "Survival of the fittest." If my gardens do well next year, I might tell the strong ones though to take it easy on the ones I particularly like.LOL

    Bookmark   September 12, 2011 at 7:11PM
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I have about the same criteria as Eric. I am really annoyed by things that look great in the spring, then I have to endure 4-5 months of ugliness. Moss phlox is on the list this fall. Gorgeous in spring for about a month, then a steady decline until about now, when it is absolutely horrid. Every year I've said it's going when it gets to this time, but then I don't get around to it and I soften in the spring when it's in bloom. Well, this year it really is going.

I am slowly coming around to the beauty and practicality of good foilage plants.

For a good fall bloomer, try Aster Oblongifolius. The only down side I've found is that mine seem to want to be divided every year to look their best. But the show in October is a traffic stopper!

    Bookmark   September 16, 2011 at 8:37AM
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I get rid of things that don't bloom/grow reliably and plants that turn out to be more invasive than I can deal with.

Campanula is one plant I will never put in my gardens again and am not sure it I will ever get rid of it. Fall blooming anenome, the lavender one, will be pulled out except for a small amount which I will really need to keep a handle on.

    Bookmark   September 16, 2011 at 12:54PM
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Floppiness, running habit, blooming too little, health issues, non-thriftiness, not ornamental enough, lack of vigour, too much vigour(roots all over the garden), replaced by something better, causing skin damage(dictamnus).

    Bookmark   September 17, 2011 at 4:26PM
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