Sunday, May 16, 2010

Yarrow Flop House

About a week ago, without pausing to look at any note I might have made to myself on, lets say, plants that should not be fertilized, I went and fertilized the entire garden.    Even the roses got their own special fertilizer.  

Before, when I still looked good
Within 20 minutes, the 'Appleblossom' yarrow grew an additional six inches and promptly flopped all over the place, sprawled over every plant near and far.  
Still looking good....on May 5th

Somewhere deep in the back of my mind, when I planted this stuff, I knew that it liked lean soil.   But until the great flop this week, I had quickly failed to be bothered with remembering.   Now reading the likes and dislikes of this plant again, I am recalling all sorts of stuff.  Like it is going to be huge.   I am not joking here either.  I planted this mid to late March and it was a 5 inch round 1 inch tall mat of fernlike bristles.  I planted two of them because there is some gardening compulsion to never buy just one of anything.    Following the directions properly I did plant them about 2.5 feet apart, so I must have had some inkling at the time.   Today each of them are probably about 24 inches tall (ahem, long) and about a 20 inch round wild floppy mat.   And growing.   5 weeks old and they are monsters. 

Today...not so good :(
See how small I was in March?

I must stop and say I do love the look of the flowerheads.  They are exactly like the picture of them in the magazines.  The colors are great.  But this sprawl.  I am not liking this.  It isn't a pretty let me just intermingle with your flowers and leaves kind of messiness.  I love that look, but no,  it looks like a dog laid on it and had a full night of running dreams.


Okay, so what to do?  Can I stake it somehow?  It looked much better before the great fertilizing event, but its a little late now to reverse that.    

15 comments:

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  2. Hey ! Got an idea, go out and buy a old iron fence piece, or new one, and stick it in front of these, you know one about 4 feet tall, and they can bloom around it and get support. Mt. Pleasant has some antique malls, Hungry neck antique mall, that has ironwork in the front. Perfect Charleston look, ..I always buy two of everything I like too ! Gina

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  3. I would cut them back. I am following the book "The well trained perennial garden" and pruing lots this yr. Check out this thread:
    http://forums2.gardenweb.com/forums/load/peren/msg071437196786.html

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  4. Hey Jess,I'm not sure I'd blame it all on the fertilizer. I don't do well with them because the soil here is heavy clay, which the roses like, but the yarrows don't - they seem happiest in hot, dry sandy spots. You could try an after the fact Tracy diSabato-Aust maneuver and cut the plants down to their basal foliage for stockier stronger stems.Best luck!

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  5. Whoa! The fertilizer seems to have done some grow magic on it! You could restrict it to grow within a confined space. I don't know where in your garden you have it, but if possible try building a mesh like thingy... How do I explain it...
    Okay, Place four canes on four corners of the space in which you want to confine it. Place a mesh on the top at a height, give some gap and continue doing so. It should look something like a ladder on all sides.
    ------
    | |
    ------
    | |
    ------
    | |
    ------
    | |
    Like so. Then you gotta prune it and let it grow through the mesh to the top. I'm not sure if this'd work if it has a spreading behavior, but you might want to give this a thought. The blooms would look great if they peek out on all four corners of this ladder!

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  6. Oops, there were spaces between those vertical lines. It was removed somehow, but I guess you get the catch. The second vertical line is supposed to be on the other end of the horizontal line.

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  7. Lol you are funny! It is feverfew in my garden this year that the dog laid on and had running dreams. Pardon my theft of your great description.

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  8. Enjoy the flowers and when you cannot take it another minute, cut it to the ground. New, tidy foliage will emerge and get along with everyone else around it.

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  9. I can't help; in fact, I don't know what you're talking about. However, the description did make me laugh out loud, so it's good from where I'm sitting!

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  10. Hi Jess, This sucks. I know. Been there done that, a gazillion times. Rest assured you're in good company.

    My question is: Is your yarrow planted in full sun? Even a few hours of shade can cause it to go leggy. Full sun, very little water once established. If you want to keep it here, I'd cut it back then get one of those round plant holder-uppers and place it a about six inches over each tuft. This will allow the plant to grow up through it.

    Which reminds me, I should get my arse out there and take a look at mine--BEFORE the fact. It's always more difficult to play damage control. Good luck. You're right. Nice blossom for sure!

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  11. Hi Jess, I second the advice to cut them back. I love yarrow and when I was in BC it was sandy soil and they grew beautifully. I've heard that they can flop if overwatered or fertilized but this is the first I've seen it! Good to know as I'm now gardening in clay soil. Marguerite

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  12. Hi everyone, thanks for the help. I am pretty much in agreement that I'm going to have to cut it at least some and then I think I'm going to get a shortish plant circle and see how it does. It has changed drastically in a short time here :(. I also probably water it too much because it is in there with a lot of new plants that aren't ready for the super droughts.

    Grace - it is in very full sun, so at least it has that going for it.

    If this whole thing doesn't work, I'll move it to outside the fence where I tend to ignore everything waaay too much.

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  13. Haha! I don't have any experience with yarrow. But I do have experience with clever analogies, and I loved yours :D

    I'm sorry it got all floppy on you. I was going to suggest a plant circle, but you already thought of that :D

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  14. No garden mistakes, Jess--just experiments. Like others have said, cut it back--I have just done that with my aconitum and delphinium because they're getting too big for their britches too fast. They'll get shorter and stockier, be a bit later blooming, but will be glorious never the less.

    Yarrow--I love it, it doesn't love my clay soil. Except the wild species, which rampages through all the time, regardless of soil. Go figure!

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  15. Jess, I have only one experience with yarrow, and had great results with cutting it back quite far early in the season (I needed all of it for bouquets for a friend's engagement party). Your 'Appleblossom' one is so much prettier than the plain yellow one I grew, and it came back much thicker and with better blooms the second time around, coming into its glory in mid-summer -- and I didn't need to stake at all. :)

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