What I mean is provide structural support for your plants. Anyone that has ever grown plants of any sort whether they be ornamental or edible knows that some plants need some type of structure to grow on or through. This could be something as simple as a tomato cage for your vegetables such as the cage that I doubled up to the left for my cucumber plant. (which by the way has doubled in size since that rainstorm we got 2 nights ago) I have used this to support other tall plants too that like to flop over in the rain or wind like a dahlia. There is nothing worse in my book than a floppy plant. I’ve been known to run out during a rainstorm to stake plants that are laying with their faces in the mud. Which brings me to the most common and easiest plant support in the garden; the plant stake. A stick basically that is either made out of metal coated with plastic, bamboo, a spiral stake, or a simple wooden stake. I have several of these in my garden shed because you never know when you have to hold up a heavy stalk or a huge droopy peony bloom. Most of the time I just stick it into the ground next to the flopping stem so it can lean against the stake. It is a temporary solution but for a blossom that is short lived such as an Iris it works. Plus I usually forget to bring the twine or that plastic tape with me when I need to stake something. Now what I really hate is when people gather the whole plant together and tie it to the stake, it just looks so unnatural. But if you have plants that are by nature not structurally strong you could invest in a plant grow-thru ring. I find these extremely effective with Peonies, Yarrow and Soapwort. As you can see to the left I gave my Soapwort a drastic haircut the other day but it should bounce back good as new. It has a tendency to get kind of leggy as the summer progresses. Plus it is also slightly invasive so I doubt I killed it that easily. Anyhow, the grow-thru ring can be purchased at your local home improvement store or through a mail order source. You can also get a open ring or an open double ring (no grid). The open double ring works well for dahlias or peonies. When the plant is dormant or still small you put this on top of it by pushing the three rubber coated metal legs into the ground at a low level. As the plant grows you can adjust the height of the support. Most plants will eventually get so full that you won’t even see the support. And this one is green so it blends in pretty well in the garden. There are also the plants that need a support to climb on such as vines or roses. This could be a trellis, arbor, pergola or even a TV antennae turned garden art. I took this old metal TV antennae tower painted it with bronze spray paint, put rebar stakes into the ground and placed it on top of the rebar to make it stationary. (the legs are hollow) Then I planted Black-eyed Susan vine seeds near the base of each leg to grow on it. I don’t know if you can make out in the bottom right corner the small green seedling. Two seeds have sprouted and one has doubled in size in the past 2 days. I can’t wait to see this scurry up the trellis and bloom. There are also decorative trellises that you can purchase to grow your vines or roses on. I happen to have three heart shaped trellises in my Rose Garden that my boys gave me for Mother’s Day one year. I have Clematis “Niobe” growing on all three. In the picture to the left you can kind of make out the curved shape. A simple wooden trellis or piece of lattice attached to a building or fence will serve the same function. Or you could even get a nice arbor to make an entrance to a garden and grow roses or some type of perennial or annual vine on it. I have an arbor in one of gardens that I have a “Bonica” Rose and a “Nelly Moser” Clematis growing on. They are both pink and complement each other nicely. You can also attach fishing line to a wall with eye hooks to support your climbing plants. That is even simpler and cost effective. I’ve used bamboo poles lashed together in tee pee shape as a structure for climbing vines too. This works really well with an annual vine that doesn’t get too tall such as Scarlett Runner Bean. So as you can see there are numerous ways you can support your plants as well as provide some structure to your garden in the process. It is also a good way to provide some vertical interest.
Support Your Plants!