But not only is it blooming, the second flush of bloom seems even heavier than the first flush. And the plant has a more compact, fuller look. Normally, this is a back-of-the-border plant. It grows tall (4 feet or more) with an open, airy look; and its graceful blooms accentuate blooms of other plants around it. But I'm thinking that next year, I might pinch back a few plants before they bloom to try a bushier, more shrub-like look.
The speaker at this week's Master Gardener's monthly meeting, Jason Powell from Petals from the Past nursery in Alabama, spoke quite a bit about cutting back perennials for a longer, more robust blooming season. He made me realize that I have not done a very good job of cutting back to get the most blooms from my perennials. Partly from laziness (keeping up with deadheading and cutting back can take a lot of time) but mostly from ignorance--I'm not well-informed about which plants respond by re-blooming and which just resent the attack. With so much information available on the internet, ignorance is a weak excuse. And Jason's presentation made me realize that I shouldn't be complaining about the summer garden looking old and tired if I haven't taken the steps available to keep it looking good.
So in those long, cold months when we gardeners are wishing for spring, I am going to spend some of my "down time" researching the plants in my garden so that next summer, I'll know what to do to get the most from the plants I have. I'm usually on the internet in those months away, but mostly looking for new plants to add to the garden. Now I realize you don't have to search out those new plants. In this active Memphis gardening community, they somehow find you.