This time of year blooms are pretty scarce in my gardens. As I prepare my clients’ garden beds for the fast-approaching winter, I take note (mentally) which perennials are best for maintenance-free gardens. That feature is in great demand for busy gardeners.
Heucheras are one of these. They look great all year, even after the first few touches of frost turn other perennial stalks and leaves to mush. They are absolutely perfect for maintenance-free gardens in the fall and require next to nothing in the spring. Remove any crispy leaves and they are good to go. I particularly love the dark burgundy colored varieties, but there are many others, including rusty orange and chartreuse. More and more I am using them as edging plants in my gardens…
Other (almost) maintenance-free perennials include the ornamental grasses that are so popular today. One of the reasons they are so popular is the fact that cutting them back to the ground first thing in the spring before new growth appears is the only maintenance required. Another reason for their popularity is the growing number of gorgeous varieties available. Remember though to check tags for their hardiness before purchasing. Here are just a few…
Although sedges look like they belong in the ornamental grass family, they don’t. They are grass-like in appearance and grow in tufts, especially well in wet marshy areas. Unlike the ornamental grasses, they don’t do well in the hot dry conditions of full sunspots in your garden. They do however look great in shadier spots and tolerate part sun conditions. Remaining green all year, they are maintenance-free. Another bonus is that they are very easy (unlike the ornamental grasses) to divide and move around. So easy in fact that I have even used them in winter containers with evergreen boughs.
Although roses are not completely maintenance-free, the newest varieties are pretty close. Some don’t need any pruning (shrub roses) and others need only minor pruning after the last frost date in spring. Many of the newest varieties bloom all summer long too. Shrub roses do not need winter protection and many are hardy to zone 2! To protect other hardy roses I mound soil around the base/crown of the plant after the ground freezes. This prevents damage from freeze and thaw cycles through the winter.
Take your pick. Most of these perennials pictured here are relatively maintenance-free. Just what busy garden lovers want.