In itself the word "hardy" is suggestive that permanency should be the first consideration in the planting of such a border, so that with but simple care the plants will continue for years. It is essential, therefore, that thorough preparation of the soil be made before planting. Two feet of good soil, well enriched with plant food, should be provided for borders. Well rotted manure, finely ground bone and well pulverized sheep manure, in equal parts by weight, are good fertilizers for perennials.
Very early Spring, just as the plants are starting into growth, is the most favorable season for planting the majority of perennials. Do not plant in wet soil; it is better to wait until the ground is fairly dry. In some localities the Spring season is very short and uncertain; this may call for planting to be done in the Fall. Plants moved in the Fall should be well protected by a mulch so that the frost will not lift them out.
Fig. 156. - Hardy Phlox in a border planting in front of shrubbery. - See page 197.
Fig. 157. - Hardy Chrysanthemums in a border along a wall. - See page 197.
- See page 198.
Summer care of perennials will consist principally of frequent cultivation so as to allow a full circulation of air and to keep down the weeds. Tall growing plants should be staked so that the borders will present a neat appearance. Staking should be done as the plants grow, and not at the last moment when the weight of foliage and flowers has made it impossible to give proper support.
To get the best result with hardy borders they should be gone over every year so that some of the very rampant plants, such as Coreopsis, can be kept in check. It is usually the late blooming varieties which need more frequent division and transplanting. Spring blooming plants flower mostly from root crowns or buds perfected the preceding year; the Fall blooming plants from the numerous new stems produced during the growing season. Some of the strong growing Fall bloomers lose the original crown every year, leaving many side shoots which spread rapidly through the borders. Plants of this type should be dug up and replanted, setting back just a few of the strongest roots. This will insure larger and better blossoms and more kindly consideration of neighboring plants.