By Julie Martens Forney
I’m always on the lookout for great garden advice. Some I glean through study, but I learn more by visiting other gardeners and from my own trial and error. After gardening in the Mid-Atlantic region for the last four years, I’ve picked up a little garden wisdom.
If you plant a wildlife-friendly garden, you attract wildlife. A Minnesota gardener told me that goldfinches love Herbstonne rudbeckia. So I planted it in my Mid-Atlantic garden, which is bordered by woods, not the open fields goldfinches favor.
The photo above shows what appeared the first year the Herbstonne bloomed. Flocks of goldfinches now visit my yard, feasting on seeds of Herbstonne rudbeckia, black-eyed Susan, and anise hyssop.
Want to attract wildlife? Discover the plants they like and add them to your garden. Some plant names provide clues: Butterfly bush beckons butterflies; bee balm draws bees.
Stake Early and Often
I have stakes in all shapes and sizes—bamboo poles, wood stakes, decorative garden fencing, and tomato cages, to name a few. Whether you grow perennials or vegetables, get stakes in place while plants are young. I add stakes before I plant tomato seedlings.
You don’t have to spend a fortune to stake effectively. My friend Phyllis Jenkins uses twine to stake her perennials. She’s very faithful to twine up plants before they need it. Her garden sparkles as a result.
Practice Garden Cleanup
One of the most important things you can do is tackle garden cleanup each fall, especially if you grow vegetables. Cleanup removes plant debris that allows pests and diseases to survive winter. The time to act is after frost zaps the garden.