-  Garden Walks  -

At home on Kenyon's first block - our favorite street in Hartford's West End.

   Picture of rose bush standard in a terra-cotta pot in front of teal garage   Picture of metal cranes and verdigris bird bath in front of raised crab apple and ivy-covered fence   Picture of orange tulips with purple redbud tree in bloom

Home     We  Love     House  Map     Hartford  Maps     Event  Calendar     Garden  Walks     Photos
Tag Sale     For Sale Signs     Kenyon  Cards     Tree Planting     Recommend     Links     About     Sitemap

Walk Dates     Events      Our Rose Bed     Centennial Rose    Lower Cost Gardens    Design Tips     Maintenance Schedule

  Kenyon Plant Lists      Kenyon Walk Notes      Kenyon Pest Control      Resources      
WFF Weekly Garden Tips    Kenyon Walk Photos     More

---- ----

Kenyon Garden Walks
Picture of neighbors discussing lovely landscaped pond

About Every Other Week, May - September.  A chance for neighbors  
to get advice, share plants and show off !  

9:00-10:30.   Bring a pad, pencil and your coffee. Rain or shine.

2011Saturdays, 9 AM. 65 Kenyon Porch 

Walks are suspended while porch is under construction.

RSVP to Carolyn:   Volunteer your yard.   My yard needs help!    See photos

Schedule 2008     Walk Notes 2008     Our Plants      Plant Swap '06 - List       Gardens Save a Neighborhood 

---- ----



  Kenyon Plant Lists:  Click arrow to go to top


Click arrow to go to top  
55 Kenyon   Picture of 55 Kenyon - mauve Queen Anne with lavender porch.  

56 Kenyon  


Picture of 56 Kenyon:  teal shingled Victorian with brown and ocher trim





65 Kenyon  


Picture of 65 Kenyon:  Pale yellow shingle Victorian with ornate white trim and round front porch  

70 Kenyon  


Picture of 70 Kenyon: bone clapboard Victorian with white trim


     March 13
    April 21  
    May 5  
    Trip for 6/2
    Sept 8  


75 Kenyon  


Picture of 75 Kenyon: Grey shingle bungalo w/ tree in bloom


96 Kenyon  


Picture of 96 Kenyon:  Grey-green toned Italianate with round wrap-around porch
    Walk 1  
    Walk 2
    Walk 3
    Walk 4
    Walk 5
    Walk 6 
    Walk 7 





21 Sherman  


Picture of 22 Sherman:  1870's Empire style in blue and cranberry with mansard-roofed tower  





---- ----

  Garden Events Around Town 2010:    Click arrow to go to top      

     Elizabeth Park Calendar for 2010
             Monthly Newsletter 
Oldest Municipal Rose Garden in the world.
Perennial garden, bulb garden, annual garden, rock garden,
     dahlia display, iris display, historic and notable trees
Workshops:     Winter 12 week garden series: Wednesdays 7 PM Jan-March
Rose Care,  Perennial Care, Annual Gardens, Iris Care
Plant Sales:      Tulip Bulbs, Perennials, Dahlia Bulbs, Iris and herbs
Tours:     Rose Garden
Perennial Garden
Annual Garden
Bird Walk
Full Moon Tours 7:30 PM.
Historic Tours
Tree Tours  

Rose Festival:

June 18 - 20, 2010.  Rose Weekend:  Peak blooming of the roses, music, kids' activities, art and craft sales, garden societies.
Concert Series: Every Wednesday at 6:30-8  PM.  Last 2 weeks of June and all of July and August.  

Also Poetry Readings - Friends and Enemies of Wallace Stevens

Flower Society Meetings
/ Shows:
Rose Society
Dahlia Society
Iris Society
Rhododendron Society
Bonsai Society
Volunteer Days:    Come ready to weed, prune, help Elizabeth Park
*    usually October -   Last Kenyon garden event of the season - 
E-mail Carolyn if you have plants to share - u12311@snet.net

White Flower Farm:

June 26:     Open House
Come to Litchfield for iced tea and cucumbers sandwiches on the lawn by our house (2:30). The display gardens should be close to peak.  Our children have agreed to judge the best garden hat. The wearer will receive a White Flower Farm gift certificate for $100, a post on our Facebook page, and a year's worth of bragging rights.
September 25:     Garden Talk: Adrian Bloom 
From Glen Sanders Mansion in Scotia, New York

Hear renowned British horticulturist and holder of the Victoria Medal of Honour, Adrian Bloom. His newest book, Bloom's Best Perennials and Grasses: Expert Plant Choices and Dramatic Combinations for Year-Round Gardens, draws on 50 years of experience as a nurseryman and gardener. 

Historical Gardens Day

June 27:     Historic Garden Tours.  Noon-4.  Free
             Butler-McCook House-Hfd, 
Hill-Stead Museum-Farmington, 
Bellamy-Ferriday House-Bethlehem.  

Class: Plants from Cuttings

July 10:    


Class:  Propagate plants from cuttings.  Sat.    $5.    8:30 - 10:30 am. 
             Farmington Valley Nursery, Avon.

Hollister House

August 27-29:     Garden Study Weekend II 
8/27: Cocktail Buffet Supper Friday.  $95 non-member.
8/28: Seminar/Continental Breakfast/Lunch/Plant & Book
         Sale Saturday.  $155 non-member 
Tour -Garden Conservancy Open Days Sunday.  $5.

Garden Conservancy

April-October:     Open Gardens
More than 360 private gardens in 21 states offer you the chance to explore first-hand examples of outstanding design and horticulture.  No registration required.  $5/garden.
2010 schedule.     2010 schedule-CT.    CT garden details.


---- ----



Adopted Rose Bed:  Click arrow to go to top

Thanks to Martha, Kenyon Streeters have adopted a rose bed at Elizabeth Park again for 2008.  This means that Martha, Mildred, Victoria and I have volunteered to pull weeds and prune the dead blossoms off the roses in our bed for this year.  
Feel free to pull any weeds we have missed when you visit the park.  

We have bed #308, located just opposite the Info Center (also just opposite a bench just inside the rose garden).  
#308 is in the second row from the edge.  Our roses are "Weeping China Doll".
See a diagram of the rose garden, and all the varieties planted in the 474 beds.  

---- ----



Elizabeth Park Centennial Roses on Kenyon:  Click arrow to go to top

Picture with permission of Elizabeth Park

Thanks to Doug, Kenyon Streeters are planting 15 of Elizabeth Park's Centennial roses in our gardens.  
They arrived on May 5, 2007.

The Elizabeth Park Centennial Rose was bred especially for 
Elizabeth Park's 100th birthday.     order form    rose care  
For those who have Japanese beetles eating your roses - Doug reports great success by using a product: 
Spectracide: Systemic Rose & Flowering Shrub Insect Control + Fertilizer.


Elizabeth Park Centennial Rose

The long awaited Elizabeth Park Centennial Rose is in the Rose Garden. 
It is a beautiful, pale pink, with a raspberry or deep pink picotee edge, hybrid tea. 
The form of the bush is upright and it is of medium height. 
It has a fairly fast repeat and it seems to always be in bloom.

 Elizabeth Park Centennial was hybridized by John Mattia of Orange, Connecticut. 
John is an amateur hybridizer, but he is no amateur when it comes to roses. 
John is one of the top three rose exhibitors in the United States, having won all of the top national awards including the prestigious McFarland and Nickelson trophies. 
John is one of the founding members of the Connecticut Rose Society, 
he is both a consulting rosarian and a master consulting rosarian for the American Rose Society, 
as well as being a Horticultural Judge. John is also a member of the Board of Directors of Friends of Elizabeth Park. 


---- ----



Low-Cost Gardening:
Use What You Have    The Perfect Plant     Low-Cost  
Download Low Cost Gardening    Click arrow to go to top


The Kenyon Street Garden Walk folks trade secrets and plants.

   Plants for:

   Clay Soil   Dry Areas   Dry 2      Wet Areas   Wet 2   Moss  
   Shaded Areas    Shade Perennials    Shade Annuals
   Long Blooming Perennials   Low-Maintenance Perennials    Long Lived Perennials    Special Needs    Perennial All-Star Book   
   Self-Seeding Annuals   Annuals from Seed   From Seed   Rooting Plants    Bulbs to Naturalize  
   Trees to Avoid   2   Trees for Under-Planting    Recommended Street Trees    

First Things First:   Use What You Have


  1. Focus on the front first - Maintenance!. 

    If it's perfectly maintained, whatever you have looks better.   Cut the lawn, edge the beds, pull the weeds, shape the shrubs (paint the wood steps).  

  2. Keep what you have and improve it.  

    An overbearing tree can be limbed from the bottom to frame your house and provide light and air.  It took decades for that mature tree to grow.  Keep the advantages:  a cooler house, cleaner air and more inviting walk - just limb it, don't kill it.

    Prune shrubs that have gotten gangly, too dense or outsized.  Arborvitae, rhodies, azeleas, privit - in fact most shrubs can be heavily pruned to solve a problem.  Don't forget that the large lower branches of shrubs can be beautifully sculptural if exposed by removing foliage that will give you more space and sunshine, but keep the living plant.  If you want more color, consider leaving the evergreens (pruned back) and expanding the bed in front to plant colorful annuals and perennials.

    Move it.  If you have a tree, shrub or perennial hiding in the back, move it to a better, more visible spot. If you can do this yourself, it's dirt cheap.  If not, compare the cost (and risk) of moving it, to purchasing another large plant that you'll have to wait in order for it to mature.

  3. Hanging Baskets  and  Create a Focal Point.

    A couple of well-placed hanging baskets, planting boxes or earns out front (or in the back) can make a big impact for little cost and maintenance.  For the most  impact, choose annuals that have massed bright color that look spectacular next to your house color.  Choose flowers that bloom all summer, or switch once from spring to summer blooms

    Create a focal point.  If your eye travels right to a certain spot, all of the other areas fade into the background.  Two planting urns like these create a focal point.  

    Or you can place a bench or bird feeder with a mulched bed and few well-placed plants around it.  Put it where you want the eye to be drawn.  Your yard will seem more complete with the addition of only a few plants surrounding a focal point.  You can do the same with a tree.  Pick the most decorative or important tree in your yard, and make it a focal point by adding a chair, artifact or swing.  Completing it with a couple of well-chosen plants will make it stand out.  

    Color or combinations of color can provide a focal point.   A well-placed tree or shrub that lights up the colors around it pulls your eye so that lots of plant material become unnecessary.  The same can be said of dramatic spring-flowering trees and shrubs.  If you can choose a specimen with plum colored leaves year-round, you'll have that effect year-round.


Choosing Plants

West End Conditions:
Hartford is zone 6.  Connecticut soil is generally on the acid side.   The West End yard is likely to have clay soil.  Most yards here have wet areas, but dry areas under the house overhangs or dense shrubs and trees.  On average, it rains 1" a month - ideal for most plants, but specific weeks can greatly exceed that or have no rain, when you'll have to water.  Planting for trees is ideal in April-May and mid- September, and October.  Plant shrubs, annuals and perennials in May or very early June.  Plant shrubs, lawns  and some perennials in mid- September, October and early November.  Spring bulbs go in October and early-November (or in a pinch, as long as the ground can be dug).


  1. Be Patient.

    Plant the tree, shrub, perennial that will fit (with space in between) when it's mature.  Make sure you ask how tall and how wide your plant will be at maturity.  You can always fill in with a few large low cost annuals or perennials in the early years.
  2. Choose plants that will thrive in your light and soil conditions.

    It will die immediately (or peter out) if you don't put a plant designed for the spot.  Most people do the opposite - they buy what they love, and then hope they have a spot for it.   
    • Lots of tree roots? - only a few ground covers and plants will make it. 
    • Clay soil? - Amend with lots of compost, sand, etc. or most plants will die.  Plants for clay.   
    • A large overhang where rainwater never reaches? - better plant drought-tolerant plants that don't need a lot of moisture (lavender and lupine, are examples).  
    • A fully shaded area? - plant a big leafed hosta with smaller ones of varied color.  They're hard to kill, and they come in lots of sizes and leaf colors.  These large blue hosta create a defining border to the wooded area beyond.  Or mix it up with other shade choices like coral bells, brunnera or fern.  Perennials for full shade.   Impatients, New Guinea impatients, and coleus are annuals of choice for full shade.
    • A low spot that's wet much of the time? - You should solve it, if you can (it's not going to get dryer on its own).  Or plant what wants to be there anyway.  Plants for Wet Areas   more
    • Moss under that tree? - Make areas under a tree or shady lawn areas that are already mostly moss, a fully moss area - you already know the conditions are right.  In short, go with what works.  
      Plants for Special Needs


  3. Choose fewer large or fast-growing plants.

    For new plantings, choose fewer large plants to fill up a large space. If they have long-running blooms or fall color that  compliment your house color and style, so much the better.  Rhododendrons, mountain laurel and hydrangea 'endless summer' are some examples of shrubs.  

    Plant fast-spreading care-free perennials (if you have a bed that can contain them).  This handsome arbor (made from stock items from Home Depot) is supporting just four Sweet Autumn Clematis plants that matured within 2 or 3 years after planting.   Echinacea, bee-balm, daylilies, perennial geraniums such as 'Rosanne',  are some examples of fast-growing perennials that have concentrated color and nice size. 

     See Perennial All-Stars for lists and information.  

  4. Choose long-lived plants that aren't susceptible to disease.

    Annuals are only good for a year (save these for well-placed punch and pay attention to the specific variety.  For example, Tidal Wave petunias can provide a mass explosion of color from just a plant or two.  Regular petunias do not.)  Or choose self-seeding annuals, that will grow next year from their own seeds. NOTE:  Do not deadhead at the end of the season, or you won't get seeds.  You will have to transplant 'volunteers' that fall where they may.  Or collect the seeds in an envelope (label it) and spread them where you want them in the fall.   

    Bulbs can naturalize and spread or only last a season.  If you want them to keep coming, plant naturalizing daffodils, hyacinth, snow drops.  Tulips only last a year (or less if the squirrels get them) - some of the tall "Impression"  and early "Kaufmannia" tulips can last two or three years.  Crocus can last a long time, but only where the squirrels can't get them - like under the grass.  Hint:  wherever you plant a ground cover, plant daffs underneath.  Mine have lasted decades without maintenance.  You can surround your tasty tulips with daffs, which are poisonous to squirrels.

    Perennials can live for a century or more (certain roses, peonies, for example).  These lilies, Echinacea, astilbe and lamium form a terraced border that has been here over 25 years - quite maintenance-free.   Some perennials only live a couple of seasons (violas, columbine).  Here's a info on long lived perennials.

    .  Most shrubs are long-lived if put in the right spot for light, water and soil conditions.

    .  Short-lived trees can live for only 10 years, especially if they are susceptible to disease.  (Lombardy Poplar which grows fast, Mountain Ash, for example).  I have seen both of these grow and die with the same owner who planted them for screening. The owner could have planted a less expensive shrub or vine that would still be screening the desired area long after those poplars died.  

    Here was a short, mature grape arbor, that was just put on a taller arbor to provide the height of screening these owners desired.  Grapes are so vigorous, it filled in to the new height that same year.

    Smaller ornamental trees such as Dogwood have a normal life of 30 years and can be susceptible to disease.  A Japanese Maple of the same height can live live for hundreds of years.  Here are trees to avoidRecommended Street Trees.  
  5. Do NOT scrimp on soil preparation!

See Planting a Tree to learn how Knox Parks Foundation does it.  See planting tips, below for preparing a new perennial bed, and maintaining it.   Choosing a low-maintenance design and these sure-fire plants will keep maintenance costs to a minimum.

Beg, Buy or Plant Low-Cost


  1. Join or form a garden group.

    The cheapest plants are from your own yard - or are given by a friend or relative.  Ask for a division, seedling or cutting if you see a plant you like!   Both these large orange cannas and the elephant ears came from divided plants from another Kenyon St. gardener.  They filled nearly the entire new front bed.

    Learn to divide those perennials: how and when.  You're going to have to divide most of them anyway.  When your perennial plants start to peter out, or get a dead spot in the center of a clump, it means they are too crowded and are beginning to die.  Decide ahead of time where the extras are going to go:  make a new or expanded bed, have an overflow bed for cut flowers, give them away, sell them, or gasp! compost them if they're not diseased.  

  2. Plant from Seed.     Learn what you can root.
    Collect seeds from yours and others plants - or pop for the $2.35 and buy a packet of seeds.  March is usually seed-starting time here, so you'll need to think about where to start them.  Start with the easy ones  - like sunflower seeds or marigolds.  This giant sunflower was grown from seed.  Best Annual Flowers to Start from Seed   Best Flowers to Start from Seed   Rooting Plants  
  3. Buy plants in bulk at discount prices.
    Don't need that discounted collection of 100 bulbs, but two or three of you are interested?  There's a 30% discount if you buy three?  Get a friend.  Discount catalogues can be a good deal, but may not be.  Get recommendations from your friends.
  4. Find a charity plant sale - or have one yourself!

    Many school fairs and community organizations sell plants as a part of their fundraiser.   May Fair at Noah Webster School usually has a plant sale table.  

    Or, use all those pots you collect to pot up your extra perennials (Clean pots with 10% bleach solution first).  Tell all your friends the sale date, and donate the proceeds to charity.  Convince your friends to join you, and you can buy their plants at discount.  One group sells every year and donates the funds to cancer research.

Sources for Low-Cost


  1. Knox Parks Foundation Street Tree Planting.
    Your group supplies the labor, Knox supplies the trees, material and heavy equipment.  This group is planting a Bradford Pear on Knox's tree planting day on Kenyon St. in 2006.  This is one of 25 trees planted that day.
  2. Free compost at Hartford Public Works
    May and early June, go to the public works yard off of Jennings Road near Riverside Park during business hours.  You shovel it and truck it.  Bring old laundry baskets, leaf bags, etc.  They'll usually be able to help load your car.
  3. Make your own compost.
    Lost of sites can tell you how.  You  need to turn it every week or so and have a spot.
  4. Tag Sales, Craig's List, FreeCycle, Trash Day
    Get free or cheap garden ornaments, pots, furniture, plants, etc. by being observant. 
  5. Elizabeth Park and Knox Parks both sell discounted plants.

    Check times in the Elizabeth Park calendar for their sales of: Bulbs (April & June), 
    Perennials (May), Dahlia Bulbs (May), Iris and Herbs (May).  Check the Knox website for their perennial plant sale.
  6.   6. Grocery stores and discount sources.
          If you know what you want, check out the prices at the grocery store - right when
          they first come out.  These stores hold on to their stock and usually don't have the
          staff or expertise to keep the plants healthy for long.
  7. Buy in late fall.
    Most garden centers discount healthy trees and shrubs later in the fall - when it is still the best time to plant.  Most discount annuals and perennials in June-July.  Ask if you can have that plant that fell off the truck.  If it's damaged and can't be sold, some will let you have it free, or heavily discounted.  Or find a friend who works at one.....

  8. Stores that have a 100% guarantee on all material.
    Home Depot and Lowe's both refund 100% if your tree, shrub, perennial or annual doesn't make it.  Ask at your garden center - keep receipts, and then take the trouble to ask for the refund.  

---- ----

     Garden Design & Maintenance:   Click arrow to go to top

                Download comprehensive Garden Design Tips

Basic Considerations

How will you use your yard?  
What style do you have/want (Victorian, English cottage, French, Japanese)?  
Where are the views from inside and outside?   What are the problems?  
Where do you have/want shade...  Where do you have/want sun?
Where do you want privacy?   Where do you want to sit?  Where do you want utilities (lighting, trash, compost, faucet)
Edibles, flowers, low-maintenance design?  Encourage birds, bees, butterflies?
Energy-sustainability considerations:  Deciduous trees on the south side, evergreen trees on the north side.  Plant species native to Connecticut.
How much work can you handle?   Do not plant high maintenance beds in front or in hard to weed spots.  
What is your budget?    Do one section at a time?    Plant front first.

Make a bird's-eye sketch with your house in the middle (show north) - add arrows showing your basic considerations.

Scale, Color, Bloom Time

Pick the shape, ultimate size & color that fits your sunny, part-sun or shady area.  Note that as trees and tall shrubs grow, sun will turn to shade conditions.
          Full Sun: (6-8 hrs of sun.), Part Sun: (4-6 hrs.), Shade: (1-4 hrs.)

Scale: Oversized or crowded plants, trees and shrubs soon become a maintenance headache, so pick the ultimate size first!   Choose evergreen for year-round privacy, shade and background.  Fencing, vines on tall lattice, and artwork can provide privacy, too.

Color: What is your color scheme?  Using at least two sympathetic colors in proximity more than doubles the impact.

What house color or other background is there?  Very important.
What are the colors and bloom times of the surrounding plants? 
Leaf color and textures (silvers, grays, reds and browns break up the mass of green).  Don't forget fall foliage color combinations!

Timing:  When do you want the bloom color (spring, summer, fall - continuous)?  Don't pick a bloom time you are never there.   Spring and fall colors used in locations you can see from inside extends your enjoyment.  Place summer blooms where you can enjoy them where you sit outside.  Continuous color will not be concentrated if it's all in one bed.

Make a design showing shape, height and color of materials for your planting area.   Show the height and color of the background house or plantings, too.

Identify Specific Plants

(See Lower-Cost Gardening, above for general conditions in Hartford, lists of low-maintenance plants and "How-To".)

Sun vs Shade plants is usually the first cut.  
      Shade (1-3 hrs), partial shade (3-6 hrs.) or sun (6-8 hrs.)

Wet or dry conditions:  If you have a bog, plant bog plants.  Don't mix dry-loving plants next to those that need plenty of water.  Fungus indicates over watering or endless rain.  

Heavily fertilize vs No fertilize requirements:   Try not to alternate plants with different fertilizer requirements - keep them in groups.  Fertilizing 'easy-care' plants like Echinacea will boost the leaf production and they'll barely bloom.  Fertilizer is essential for some, like lilies and roses.

Lime vs acid-loving plants:  Neutral soil has a pH value from 6.5 to 7.0, which is what to aim for in most perennial beds.  pH levels for plants.

Rapidly spreading plants:  If you don't want to have to dig rapidly expanding plants, plant them where they can expand at will.  Root-expanding plants like some fern, lily of the valley, bee balm and ground covers like pachysandra can be stopped by a below-ground border barrier. Hint for mint lovers:  Mint is invasive.  Plant it in the ground in a pot within a pot - put a plastic bag in between the pots as a barrier. Remarkably, it survives this way year after year.  Seed-expanding plants like Echinacea will spread into any prepared beds where the seed falls.  Do not plant 'pest plants'.  Consider removing them.   Invasive species will become the scourge of the neighborhood, the state..... http://www.ct.nrcs.usda.gov/plants.html.  Plant species native to Connecticut

Special Considerations such as root competition.  Certain plants are happy under trees, others are not.  Hosta can survive most any condition.  

Identify specific plants that fit the spot (for conditions, shape, size and color).  See lists, above.

Draw a bird's-eye plan giving each plant its required space - fill in with annuals between newly planted perennials at first.

Planting and Soil Preparation

Wear sunscreen, gloves and a hat!

See Nancy DuBrule's advice on starting a perennial bed.

Fall planting (after the hot days have passed) is best for lawns, shrubs and perennials to give roots a good head start..  The first week of October is usually optimal for planting.  Spring planting is next best.  Generally, plant when the soil is no longer saturated, but crumbles, and after danger of hard frost, in Hartford about May 1 to 15.  Plant annuals and vegetables in May.  To plant trees, see Knox Tree Planting and Tree Pruning and Maintenance.  

Test the Soil and Augment:   Do a soil test to see if your soil is overly acid or alkalineMost plants prefer neutral soil (pH of 6.5-7.0), but there are exceptions. Lilacs like alkaline soil (spread some lime). Rhododendron, azaleas and most evergreens like acid soil (fertilize with fertilizer specifically for acid-loving plants. Some people use oak leaves, some research says this is a myth.)  pH levels for plants.  A light side dressing of compost and dried manure (5-3-4) in early spring spring both fertilizes and tends to bring soil in our area to neutral.  Here, large amounts of compost are required to enrich, neutralize and lighten clay soil when first preparing a bed. For planting acid-loving plants such as rhododendrons and azaleas augment the soil with peat moss instead of compost.    Add rock phosphate deep into the soil when first preparing a garden bed.  Nancy DuBrule also adds greensand when first beginning a perennial bed to develop strong root systems.  Use a soil tester (at most garden centers) and read the bag label instructions for specific quantities needed. UConn Cooperative Extension Service also tests soil. They are at 1800 Asylum Ave (at Trout Brook in W. Hfd – opposite the UConn main parking lot).  Rule of thumb: add some lime if it's too acid, extra manure if it's too alkaline. 

Layout the Bed, Create a Lawn Barrier:   
Use a hose to layout the location of your new bed.  If your bed abuts a lawn, cut in a continuous barrier line the depth of  your shovel all along the boundary.  The barrier should be about three inches wide, sloping up towards the bed.  Never let the grass cross - your bed will be very hard to maintain once grass infiltrates the bed.  A plastic or metal barrier is more expensive and harder to install, but permanently keeps the separation.  A brick barrier is pretty, but sinks, collects weeds and mold and doesn't keep the grass out.  In any case, get rid of any live grass or weeds from your bed by digging down and under the grass and roots with a flat shovel or a sod cutter. You can also kill the grass/weeds in the bed by first by smothering your patch with black plastic (garbage bags held by wire stakes or rocks over several weeks.) Compost the discarded grass. 

If you have wet areas, avoid this location, or plant a bog species.  If the location is unavoidable, several inches of gravel below the top 18" of soil  will help keep topsoil from being saturated. Change the soil level to redirect or distribute water so it doesn't collect (mosquitoes can breed in very little water, including soil that's always muddy.  For minor problems, augmenting your soil with enough sand and compost may be all you need. 

Dig the Bed, Compost:   Prepare the soil well or you're wasting your time.   Turn the soil over with a shovel and pitchfork to loosen and aerate it - down at least a spade's depth - best to dig down 18".  Either transplant any grass to fill a bald spot in your lawn, or shake off the dirt and compost the grass.  Add 3" of compost over the whole bed and mix it all the way in.  You may need more compost and manure, possibly sand if your soil is heavy or part clay.  Discard rocks and break up clods.  For a new perennial bed, Smooth the surface so it drains away from the house.  Top dress with dried manure which fertilizes (sheep manure is best, but chicken is good, too.)  Check the package label for quantities.  Mix it in the top inch or two.  

Plant, Water:   Lay out the plants according to your design.  When you buy the plant – ask how far apart they should be.  Follow label instructions to plant seeds.  (for seeds, press a shovel handle in the soil to give you a straight planting line.)  You typically plant the seed with ½” or less of soil on top, pressing gently to make good contact with the soil. Seeds differ, but most come up in a week or two. You will plant more seeds than you need, so you will thin the seedlings that become established.

For potted plants, make sure the soil level matches the level of the bed.  If root-bound in the pot, slice the bottom 1/3 of the roots into four flaps, and spread the flaps when planting.  Pat it in to make sure the roots are in good contact with the soil.  Create a little dam on the sloping side to catch the water.   

Give your new plants or seeds a long drink with a gentle light spray. To check if you’ve watered enough, stick your finger in the soil to make sure the soil is wet to about 2” when first planting. Water again in half a week after first planting if the soil dries out or daily if your plants are drooping. Thereafter you need 1” of water a week – from nature or the sprinkler.  Pfaus Hardware has gauges for about $3.

Pinch off the top set of leaves when planting to produce a fuller plant.  This encourages side growth.

Mulch:   Put 2 " of shredded pine bark mulch around the plants, and over the whole bed.  Keep mulch from touching the actual plant.  Mulch retains moisture and keeps the weeds down.   
If you have planted seeds in the ground, spread 1/2" of compost as mulch to get them started.  Pull or move the extra seedlings in between once they grow several inches in order to get the proper spacing between plants.   

General Maintenance Schedule

also see -  Garden Clubs of CT list Month-by-Month 

  • Late Sept-Oct:  
    Weed in fall to keep weeds from getting a foothold.
    Dig in compost to make soil lighter and better, if desired.
    Spread grass seed w/ a little potting soil over bald spots (after scratching the dirt).
    If it's a dry fall, water deeply in late October so plants go into winter hydrated.
    See below for dividing perennials.

  • November-Dec. (after hard frost)
    Cut dead perennial plants down.  Compost disease-free ones.
    Bank mulch around plants that are not hardy to protect from wide temperature shifts.
    Protect young evergreen shrubs from bending with heavy snowfall (twine, tent, etc.) 

  • April:  
    After it rains, pull weeds, or use a weed blade tool where weeds are clustered.  
    Add a side dressing of chicken manure each spring around your plants (and compost to lighten your soil), or  Hollytone for acid-loving plants (rhododendron, azelea, andromeda, mountain laurel, fir, cedar, spruce, hemlock, holly, hydrangea, viburnam,  magnolia, dogwood, oak, etc. are all acid-loving)  pH levels for plants
    Spread Preen if you like extra help to keep weeds down.

  • Late May: Mulch (shredded pine bark)  is our friend - about 2".  A late mulch lets you find seeds that have sprouted.
    Cage or stake any plants that need support (tall lilies, delphinium, peonies, dahlias)
    Plant heat-loving tomatoes and peppers in late May.  Plant summer bulbs like dahlias now.  HINT:  in Hartford, if you plant gladiola bulbs 9" deep, especially if near your foundation, we have found them to be hardy, blooming year after year without having to remove them. 

  • June:
    Fertilize:  Only certain plants benefit from post-spring bloom fertilizer:  like lilies, delphinium, roses, reblooming bearded iris...  

    Deadhead:  Deadheading means twisting or clipping the dead flower off the plant as soon as it’s gone.  Deadhead  lilacs and spring bloomers to encourage growth, pinching spent blooms from your rhododendron will net more blooms next year.  Deadhead repeat bloomers like Salvia 'May Night' and Nepeta to encourage repeat bloom later in the season.  

Hard Trim:  Some early-blooming perennials that form a basal rosette of growth may tend to become large and floppy with age.  Trim them back hard after bloom is finished – you will quickly get handsome foliage that will remain compact all summer. Candidates include: Alchemilla (Lady's Mantle), Cranesbill (Geranium), Aquilegia (Columbine), Tiarella, and Heuchera.

Half-Trim:  I f you have any of the glorious tall, fall-blooming Asters, such as 'Alma Potschke', you can trim them back by half this month. Just do so by the end of June. Plants will still bloom, but will be more compact than their usual 3-4ft heights.  This is also useful for higher growing sedum like Autumn Joy, if you have found your sedum to be leggy or droopy in the fall.

Narcissus Leaves.  Leave the browning daffodil leaves alone.  They should be allowed to remain at least six weeks after bloom, to feed the bulb for next spring's show.  It is ideal to let the foliage wither by itself.  If it's been 6 weeks since the blooms faded, you can trim the leaves if you can't stand it.

  • Ongoing:
    Weed as you walk!  (easy after it's saturated with rain).  Maintenance out front!   
    Keep lawn tidy.  See "Create a Lawn Barrier", above.

    Water:  Rule of thumb-you need about 1" of rain or watering per week for most annuals and perennials.  CT gets an average 1" a week, but if 1.5 weeks passes without an inch, water your plants. (A 'V' shaped rain gauge is helpful.  Use it also to learn how long to sprinkle to achieve 1".  I water a 6' swath with a gentle hose for about 1.5 minutes to achieve 1/2".)  Do not sprinkle your porch or siding - a sure way to rot expensive details to replace.

    Collecting Seeds

    If you want to collect seeds to start for next
    year, leave a few dead flowers that will go to seed. Collect them in envelopes from the dried pod. Label the envelope so you know what’s in there. Or just let the seeds drop and when they emerge in the spring, transplant them where you want them.  Perennials that easily reseed include foxgloves, cone flower and black-eyed susans which make small plants this year, ready to bloom next year.  Annuals that reseed include cleome, cosmos and snap dragons. 

  • July-August:
    Every 2 weeks spray diluted liquid seaweed on rose leaves to keep them healthy.
    In years of high heat and drought, spray fish emulsion once or twice on all areas.  Attach a proportioner to your hose, and you will fertilize as you water.

  • Anytime:
    Cut flowers to enjoy indoors.

Pruning and Dividing.


Divide perennials that are crowded, usually every 3-4 years.  Otherwise the plant and surrounding plants will stop blooming and may eventually die.  To divide, gently dig around and pull up plant root shaking off the dirt.  Lightly trim tops and roots.  With a disinfected knife (use Lysol, an antibacterial mouthwash such as Listerine, or rubbing alcohol), cut in half vertically along the root division, or divide into more plants, as appropriate.  Replant one in original spot.  For remaining sections, plant in new location, plant in holding garden out back, pot or give to a friend.  

Example of specific instructions:  Transplant bearded iris in the fall, keeping them from being crowded by other perennials.  Cut bearded iris back to 3-4" and remove spent foliage to discourage borers.  

Early Spring

Prune roses in early spring.  
Cut clematis that bloom on new wood back to 18" each spring (or at least every 3 or 4 years).  Clematis that bloom on either old or new wood should have dead wood removed and light pruning each year to keep some blooms at eye level - severely back to 18" after the first bloom to rejuvenate an old plant.  (See WWF document to see varieties of each type)

Pruning Trees:  Two or three years after planting, it's generally safe to prune.  Any earlier, and it may be losing vital moisture before deep roots are established.  Trees grow from the tips, so a branch 10" from the bottom will always be 10" from the bottom, only growing thicker as the years pass.   So, if you want to walk under a tree, eventually remove the branches under about 6 feet.   Immediately prune to remove branches that are dead, or those that can damage a tree by rubbing another branch, branches that shoot straight up or cross another, to encourage growth in a certain direction, and to uncover the basic shape so branches have room to grow thick.  Rule of thumb:  prune enough so a bird can fly through.  Leave enough leafing so the tree can sustain itself.  Prune also for aesthetics or if a branch will eventually hit the house, for example.  If you can foresee that a branch will become a problem, getting rid of it now will save a much more expensive removal later, and the tree will put it's energy into growing where you want it to. See Tree Pruning and Maintenance for an illustrated guide.

Pruning Shrubs:  Most shrubs grow from the tips or budding directly off the main branches.  Generally speaking, you can prune shrubs way back and they will branch out and become fuller.  For example, if a Rhody or Mt. Laurel is getting scraggly, oversized or blocking your view, cut the branches back below where you want it to grow back to get fuller branching.  The same is true of a privit hedge that has gotten thin or too tall.  Whack it back to a foot  if you like.  Privit shrubs can grow to 25' if left unattended.   Arborvitae can be topped, thinned, sculpted or cut near the ground to re-grow.  See Pruning Arborvitae for more specifics.


Thin and Cut Back:  Some perennials spread way out of their zone, killing, crowding out or shading others you want to maintain.  Pull them, dig them out or prune back, as necessary.  Infamous encroachers include, cone flowers and black-eyed susans, ivy, lily-of-the-valley, bee balm.

---- ----

Resources:     Click arrow to go to top


Elizabeth Park:   Overwintering Roses    glossary     
           Winter Lectures      Native Gardens      "Green" gardening     Tree Tour

UConn Coop Extension Service   Hartford office    home-garden 
            soil test    plant-insect test    fact sheets    plant database  
            master gardeners   seminars  

CT Agricultural Experiment Station 

CT Horticultural Society Master Gardener Links  

Garden Centers-Books      

WFF Weekly Garden Tips    rose planting & care   Lloyd Border 
            Climate Change in the Garden 
            Video How-Tos:  
                        Collecting hollyhock seeds    

Connecticut Gardener Articles  

Federated Garden Clubs of CT  Monthly To-Do List

The Seed Savers Exchange (save and exchange heirloom seeds) 

Planting and Maintaining Trees - our Knox photo-journal 

Annual February Flower Show  (lectures)

North-Central CT Conservation District Plant Sale (early April deadline)

For those who have Japanese beetles eating your roses - Doug reports great success by using a product: 
Spectracide: Systemic Rose & Flowering Shrub Insect Control + Fertilizer.


Kenyon Street Pests:

            Cedar-Apple-Rust Fungus 

            Red Lily Beetle  Summary

            Japanese Beetles on Roses

---- ----


Kenyon Garden Walk Photos: Click arrow to go to top

Picture of neighbors touring perennial bed with pink and white lillies, pink cone flowers, astilbe and silvery lamium edging the border  

Click here to see photos of our Kenyon Garden Walks    Arrow- Click to go to the next page.

Click arrow to go to top  Return to top

---- ----

Home     We  Love     House  Map     Hartford  Maps     Event  Calendar     Garden  Walks     Photos
Tag Sale     For Sale Signs     Kenyon  Cards     Tree Planting     Recommend     Links     About     Sitemap

©  2006-2010