Well it is that time of year again! As I walk around my yard and look at the perennials which are now at maximum growth, it is a good time to evaluate what needs more room, where can I fill in, and what areas just need a little love. Some areas need a shift in the color palette (too much pink perhaps in the back corner) or some plants are losing their distinctive shape because they are too close together. So I make some notes and come up with a plan to divide and conquer!
Summer is a great time for some plants to be divided, such as daylilies and iris. As soon as they have finished blooming for the season you can lift the whole plant (or just a part)out of the ground, remove the spent flower stems, trim the foliage for a neater appearance, divide and replant. By doing this now you are giving ample time for the plant to establish new roots and grow before fall. Hosta can also be divided now if necessary, although I prefer to divide and transplant those in the early fall before the foliage dies back. This way I can enjoy them all summer without damaging the leaves, and the soil is warm enough in the fall for them to settle in. Whenever you choose to do this, remember to water the plants well until they are established; and add a good layer of mulch to keep the weeds down and moisture in.
Ornamental Grasses are best divided in the spring just after cutting back the old foliage and before the new growth comes up. I always enjoy the look of grasses in the winter and let them stand till mid-March. This helps protect the crown of the plant from winter snows as well.
When everything is replanted, I like to save room for that special plant I have had my eye on that will make me smile whenever I see it!