Late fall: Same perennial bed after cleanup and pruning.
Thomas J. Story
Bud Stuckey, coordinator of Sunset's test garden in Menlo Park, California, doesn't think so. More than seven years ago, he set aside an 18- by 25-foot section of the garden just for cut-and-come-again blooms. There, after tilling and amending the soil, he planted roses, perennials, and a smattering of seasonal tubers, such as dahlias and tuberoses. The payback for his initial efforts has been enormous: buckets of blooms daily, April through October, for six years.
The secret to this garden's continuing productivity is autumn renewal. Beginning each October, Stuckey follows this simple strategy ― cutting, pruning, weeding, mulching ― to freshen the plantings. Follow his program (adapt it to your garden's special needs and to your climate) for a robust flower bed next spring. Then, says Stuckey, "get out of the way and watch the plants grow."