Edibles with Ease: When to Get Growing from Seeds or from Starts? Read more »
In my side yard which is mostly shade, I have tried a variety of perennials that thrive in a woodland setting. Read more »
Make your garden even more welcoming to birds and butterflies: turn it into a certified wildlife habitat. Read more »
The StaySharp™ Max Reel Mower combines patent-pending technology with superior ergonomics to deliver best-in-class cutting perf... Read more »
Keep your lawn and your shoes clean and free of clippings by adding our innovative, sturdy Grass Catcher to your StaySharp™ Ree... Read more »
The Salsa Rain Barrel System makes it easy to collect up to 58 gallons of water for your garden and lawn. Our rain barrel is ma... Read more »
Make the most of National Craft Month by preparing some craft kits for your children - let them explore color, texture and dif... Read more »
This is the second how-to in a series focused on getting the most out of your basic paper punches. Read more »
Spring brings in the most wonderful colors and here is a fun way to add a touch of color to your gifts! Read more »
Our ProCision™ Rotary Bypass Trimmer features a unique dual-rail system that stabilizes the rotary blade, eliminating wiggle fo... Read more »
Perfect for a wide range of crafting and mixed media tasks, our Amplify® Mixed Media Shears sense blade separation and force th... Read more »
Available online and at your local retailer May 2014 Add distinctive style to craft projects of all kinds with... Read more »
My idea is to show everyone that they can make something cute and fashionable without spending a lot of money. Read more »
Embellishing a plain shirt using a reverse appliqué technique is easy - and your kids will love their personalized outfit! Read more »
This year, it seems like spring is way overdue at our house. Read more »
Perfect for tight, precise cuts, our Amplify® RazorEdge™ Fabric Shears sense blade separation and force the blades back togethe... Read more »
Perfect for a wide range of sewing and quilting tasks, our Amplify® RazorEdge™ Fabric Shears sense blade separation and force t... Read more »
Perfect for users with larger hands or anyone who needs to make long cuts through multiple layers, our Amplify® RazorEdge™ Fabr... Read more »
I always look forward to school being out for the summer (more so than my children, probably!) and the change of pace means we... Read more »
This fun project is a great way to send a little love note to your child. These lunchbox notes can be slipped into a backpack... Read more »
Here is a fun craft for St. Patrick’s Day that is not only adorable, it makes kids stop and think about how lucky they are. Read more »
Children love our Blunt-tip Kids Scissors for the handle that’s shiny, bright and smooth, not “sticky” or “bumpy.” Teachers and... Read more »
Our Big Kids Scissors take the basic design of our teacher-recommended Kids Scissors and enlarge them for kids that are a littl... Read more »
Our Student Scissors are larger than our Kids Scissors but smaller than adult scissors, perfect for those older children who ar... Read more »
Introduced to the world as a quality fabric scissors, the Original Orange-Handled Scissors redefined the standard for cutting p... Read more »
The first time you try our PowerGear® Super Pruner/Lopper, you’ll be amazed — but it’s not magic, it’s gears. Our patented gear... Read more »
Our Comfort Loop Rotary Cutter with a 45 mm blade makes cutting a wide variety of quilting materials comfortable and easy. A cu... Read more »
In areas with mild climates (like mine here in California), even though most of our garden still looks pretty good, you may notice some of the more tender annuals are long gone (see you next year coleus!), or a few perennials are already fast asleep (anyone seen your phlox lately?)
However, during the next few weeks, all of a sudden your garden will start to look very different. Adjectives like straggly, overgrown, and leggy come to mind. Even though there may still be a few leaves or flowers on your plants they’re trying to tell you they’re tired and ready for a long winter’s nap.
You may not be sure when, if or how to cut your plants back but by examining them closely you can learn to read their subtle clues. I’m not talking about those plants that have no life whatsoever left in their leaves (an obvious clue that it needs cutting back), but plants that still look fairly decent and will continue to do so throughout the winter. Those are the tricky ones to know when and how to prune.
In USDA’s milder zones (9 and up) some of the plants that most commonly confuse gardeners this time of year are penstemon, euphorbias, cuphea, leonotis, phlomis, heucheras, iberis and salvias. Even though they’re still green, they look overgrown, their stems now thick, woody and no longer supple, and their flowers are few and far between.
But an easy way to read your plant is to get down on all fours and closely examine the center of it. Scraping the old leaves and debris aside you’ll most likely notice tiny little leaves along the woody stems. That’s your plant’s way of telling you it’s too leggy and needs to be cut back. It’s also telling you not to worry that you’ll kill it, since it’ll bounce right back with the little leaves that are just waiting for the chance to grow. If you don’t cut it back, the plant will continue to expend lots of energy keeping those old leaves and flowers alive, when it could be re-directing it’s energy towards the new leaves.
So cut it back hard, a few inches from the crown, near a set of new leaves. Wait a few weeks and you’ll be surprised how quickly your bundle of ‘sticks’ fills in with new growth. Soon you’ll have a lush and tidy plant again. In warmer winters, your plant will remain this size until spring’s warm weather awakens it and it springs into action! One warning, though - if you live in a climate with cold winters don’t prune these plants in the fall as you don’t want the tender, new leaves to get zapped by a hard frost. You’ll need to wait until early spring to prune your plants.