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Supporting your garden’s wobbly bits

Tammy Schmitt

Tammy Schmitt

April 14, 2016

I once read an article about a gorgeous garden that was accompanied by a photo showing every plant perfectly positioned and well behaved. There was no slouching, leaning, or canoodling. There were no secret smooches between the flirty pink zinnias and that broad shouldered basil. If that garden were a party, they’d be drinking milk and playing bingo. Underneath those high collars and long skirts, those dames were trussed to the hilt.

Don't get too close! You could poke an eye out!

Don’t get too close! You could poke an eye out!

Stakes, wires, and cages kept every one upright, uptight, and totally in line. Meanwhile, back at the Casa, most of my garden was going commando.

While that wasn’t a problem for the plants whose wobbly bits were still quite small, one of my favorites needed some help. Blessed with the type of buxom beauty other perennials can only dream about, ‘Blue Fortune’ agastache needed something that would keep the girls perky and immune to the perils of gravity. It needed to be comfortable but attractive, with a bit of ooh la la that would reveal a touch of something special when her shoulders were almost bare. If she was going to end her free-wheeling naked days, she needed to look good doing it.

Support for the agastache

Support for the agastache

A custom made wrought iron plant support from Battle Hill Forge was added last winter to give the agastache a sturdy frame to help hold up the weight of her summer growth. It’s hidden under all the foliage.

Helenium 'Tie Dye'

Helenium ‘Tie Dye’

With the plant no longer leaning on the ground, I had enough room to add Helenium ‘Tie Dye’.

Steel plant supports

Steel plant supports

I placed these around the plants in the winter before the ground froze. Curly fiddle head finials give them a bit of flair.

Echinacea with bee-popular Agastache 'Blue Fortune'

Echinacea with bee-popular Agastache ‘Blue Fortune’

‘Blue Fortune’ agastache is one the top pollinator attracting plants in my garden. The beautiful blue blooms were past their peak in these photos but the bees weren’t giving up.

Bee on Agastache 'Blue Fortune'It’s easily grown in full sun in slightly moist soil.

$10 says she pops a seam when she stops holding her breath

$10 says she pops a seam when she stops holding her breath.

Surprise discovery of asters under the mist flowers

Surprise discovery of asters under the mist flowers

I’d pulled out a mountain of mist flowers before I took this picture. I found the asters in the middle.

But at the top of the Sunnyside bed, things had gotten totally out of hand. An invasion of blue mist flowers combined with a lack of pruning left my struggling ‘Monch’ asters overflowing their cups and spilling the goods onto the neighboring plants. The plant support I’d given them was the equivalent of a botanical bikini but they needed full support. The girls were floppy, bouncy, and in the way.

Monch asters

‘Monch’ asters are a bit floppy and need to be pruned by half in early summer. Ooops….

New plant support from Battle Hill

New plant support from Battle Hill

After cutting back the aster, I added another plant support from Battle Hill. The metal grid will help keep the asters from flopping but the open middle will allow them the lush looseness that I enjoy. If I don’t need both grids, they’re removable and can be used on other supports they’ve made. My garden’s free-wheeling hippie days might be coming to an end for a few plants, but at least they’re going out in style.

red dress

Welcome to the garden, darling!

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Kate Wall
Kate Wall
8 years ago

Brilliant Tammy – my garden has the same problem! those plant supports look great, I am going to see if I can get my husband to make me some….

casa mariposa
8 years ago
Reply to  Kate Wall

I hope they turn out fabulous!

Liz Chappell
8 years ago

Love it! Made me grin (not only because I remember those illustrations). Wonder if Helpful Husband could weld up some supports like that – for the plants of course.

casa mariposa
8 years ago
Reply to  Liz Chappell

I’m so glad this made you smile!