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Garden Centre

How to Plant a Perennial
A perennial is a non-woody plant that lives in the ground for more than two years with little attention from you after planting. Many die back to ground level in autumn and resurrect themselves in spring, sending up new shoots from their bases. These are termed herbaceous perennials . Some are evergreen , providing you with valuable green ground cover throughout the year, and some even flower in winter - the Christmas Rose (Helleborus niger) for example. Perennials are versatile, and offer a varied range of different leaf shapes, textures, colours and, of course, flowers. Whatever style you're aiming for, you will want to include some perennials somewhere in your garden. You will find them in four forms: container-grown ; bare-rooted (many mail order perennials are supplied like this); seeds (this keeps the cost of the plants right down); and self sown seedlings (some perennials are great self seeders). This workshop shows you how to plant a container-grown perennial. You can plant these at any time, but spring and autumn are the best seasons, as you'll need to keep the soil around them moist as their roots get growing.
you will need
A dug over border or area of soil; a spade or hand trowel (depending on the size of the plant); hand fork; watering can. Optional: thin gardening or rubber gloves; organic fertiliser such as Rooster, mulch such as bark or cocoa shells.
Dig a hole where you want the perennial to grow. Make it about half as wide again as the plant's container, and a bit deeper than the pot. Put the earth you dig out on one side of the hole. Remove any large stones from the hole and loosen the soil in the bottom and sides of it with the fork.
Give your plant a really good soak - immerse it in its pot into a bucket for an hour or so if the compost is dry, or water well with your watering can. Then, holding the compost around the base of the plant in one hand, slide it out of the pot with your other hand.
Use your fingers to remove the very top of the compost, about 2.5 cm. This may sometimes have small weeds and weed seeds in it, or may look a bit like a mossy crust. Keeping the main part of the compost rootball of your plant intact, gently loosen its roots at the sides and bottom of the compost with your fingers.
Put the plant into the hole and check that the top of the plant is level with the soil at the sides of the hole. Adjust the depth if you need to by adding soil from the pile or taking more away. Hold the plant with one hand and fill in around it with the loose soil. (This is called backfilling ). Firm the soil around the plant roots with your hands.
Loosen the soil surface around the plant with your hand fork. If you're using organic fertiliser, shake some around the plant and scratch it into the soil with your hand fork. Water the plant thoroughly. Apply a mulch if using one, this will help keep in moisture and control weeds. Check that the soil around recent plantings does not dry out.
Dig a planting hole of the right size in a prepared border.
Gently lift the plant from its pots and loosen the roots.
Refill the planting hole, firm around roots and tidy soil.

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