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Show #12/6312.
Bellingrath Gardens

Rejuvenating A Garden

Many viewers have older, historic plants. Eric’s first garden had camellias, large indica azaleas, a lot of those classic garden plants. What he wanted to do was go in there and bring in some fresh air, make the garden more modern, if you will. What ideas would Todd have for gardeners who have a garden they feel is a little bit tired, how would one go about the process of reinvigorating or refreshing an older or more historic landsite? Todd says that if one were curating a place such as Bellingrath Gardens they would need to be very careful but if it’s your home of course you can do what you want. But remember plants are tough, plants can take a lot more abuse than people think. One can take a huge plant and cut it to 6 inches tall and they don’t care. Anything short of a nuclear blast, they’re fine. Todd shows some camellias that they have limbed up, cut them hard, topped them basically, they just took some old hollies and basically hat-racked them where you take them back to nubs. What you’ve done is reduced the width, reduced the height, you’ve brought the foliage up. Then underneath them they planted water ferns. They’re a beautiful evergreen perennial. They can now plant all kinds of plants underneath. 40 or 50 years ago people planted shrubs more than perennials. They were planting annuals and we’re still planting annuals and that’s fine but you can mix it up more today. There are a lot of bulbs that may bloom at different seasons that are perennial, not just tulips that are like once and done. Plant perennial daffodils or rain lilies for the summer or surprise lilies for the fall. So many things you can do, look at the plant pallet, there is room for more plants in your garden than you think. There is nothing wrong with taking the pruning shears out and cutting things back. Eric thinks that’s great advice. Before we pull out those big, old plants, think about ways to give those plants another season. See if it works. Give a hard pruning to the azaleas, limb things up to allow space for new plants to go in underneath and see if that works. But if it doesn’t, don’t be timid, maybe it wasn’t the best plant for that spot.

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