Caring For Perennials
Inside Caring for Perennials; What To Do and When To Do It, by Janet Macunovich (Storey Publishers, 1997; $18), you'll find a season-by-season guide to creating and maintaining a first-class garden with minimal effort. There's general advice for preventative maintenance in early spring; mulching, dividing, and moving plants in mid-spring; staking them in late spring; deadheading in midsummer, cutting back and removing them in mid-autumn. Chapters on pruning, weeding, watering, and fertilizing round out the book, which focuses on the care and feeding of 130 of the most popular perennials.
Favorite or New Plant
Echinacea and echinops are listed next to each other in garden books and catalogs, and it doesn't hurt to put them next to each other in the garden as well. The spiny spherical, steel-blue flowers of Echinops humilis (globe thistle) set off the hot-pink daisies of Echinacea purpurea (purple coneflower). Both perennials are excellent for Northwest gardens. They are among the most carefree perennials you can grow. They're disease-free and cold-hardy, and both have flowers that last a long time. For best growth, plant in full sunshine, in well-draining soil then just stand back and enjoy!