Supporting Plants

By Sharon Harris

As the days get longer & the weather warmer, the perennial plants in my garden have started to grow exponentially this year.  This lets me know it is time for me to unearth all my plant supports

Today we experienced the most wonderful soaking rain.  But with a garden full of tall flowering delphiniums, grasses and soft perennials, a good soaking rain can potentially be damaging, so damaging in fact, especially if wind and rain combine, that there is no ability for some of the plants to recover properly for the rest of the growing season. 

My Saving Grace- Plant Supports. 

The reason for this is good ones are very few so when I do seem them orI am never consciously looking,  & seem to stumble on them in my travels,  but if I do see them, they immediately have my undivided attention.  As someone who has an essentially perennial garden plant supports are essential to a good garden.

I HAVE ACQUIRED SO MANY DIFFERENT TYPES OVER THE YEARS.  THEY HAVE BECOME A BIT OF AN OBSESSION, SO MUCH SO THAT IF I SEE A GOOD PLANT SUPPORT, WITHIN REASON, MONEY IS NO OBJECT. THAT MAY SEEMS A LITTLE UNHINGED & IRRESPONSIBLE, AND YOU MAYBE ASKING THE QUESTION- WHY?  BECAUSE GOOD PLANT SUPPORTS ARE RARE. 

Why are they so important? Because the time & care that has goes into creating my garden is incalculable.  This is not the hours in any given year, it is the hours over years that have contributed, in both thought & deed, to the creation of the garden, & the ultimate aim is to have a garden that is balanced in its chaos.  Maintaining Plant Integrity (that space between plants- and another Blog entirely) is what makes a perennials & grass garden work.  Maintaining this integrity is through selective pruning is important,  but with the impact of other things like wind & rain, this is largely acheived through supporting the plants properly. 

Collapsed plants can contribute to the loss of structure in the garden as whole.  In my life a well supported plant = a beautiful, balanced, stress free garden.   Yet apart from one or two other gardeners I know I seem to be alone in this, cost or appearance seem to place a big role as to whether or not people consider purchasing & using plants supports.  The number of make shift frames we have created over the years……& the important thing here is ….AFTER THE PLANTS HAVE COLLAPSED….. is in the 100’s.  Most of the time it is too late as the damage overall to the plant has been done, and not only to the affected plant, but to the plants surrounding it. 

Predominantly a perennial garden requires supports, as the lack of woody structure is its weakness. This is why supporting the plants is fundamental.