Step 5 – Planting and subsequent aftercare
Once the soil has been prepared as suggested in Step 3, planting can begin whenever convenient. Before planting Providing plants are watered in dry periods they will be happy in their pots for some weeks until planting conditions are right. Avoid planting in very frosty weather when the ground is solid; and in very dry weather unless the plants can be watered.
For larger areas where different groups of plants are being planted it is advisable to lay-out all the plants first to make sure they all fit where intended. In large schemes or where there is a plan it may pay to mark out the different areas first, before laying out the plants, by making lines in the soil; this can save a lot of confusion later!
Planting and labelling
Once in their correct positions take the plant out of its pot and plant into the ground with the old compost level of the pot just about the same level of the soil you are planting into. Firm around the plant with gentle pressure and move on to the next.
Leave the labels buried below the surface so plant names are not forgotten; or remove completely if you have a plan or sketch.
Wherever possible we recommend mulching the plants. A mulch is a layer of organic matter such as bark or stable manure; or an inorganic material such as gravel or slate, which is placed on the surface of the soil, usually after planting, to a depth of approx 25-50mm (1-2 inches). Care must be taken not to cover the young plants or damage their stems while laying the mulch.
Mulching is very useful for reducing labour long term as it stops most weed seeds from germinating and essentially keeps moisture in the ground for longer without needing to water. Organic material like stable manure will also act as a feed.
Additionally a mulch layer, such as gravel, can be very attractive on the eye and so can be desirable purely on aesthetic grounds.
Our palette of plants are easy to look after, needing very little maintenance.
There are both evergreen and deciduous grasses and cutting back depends on this. It is easy enough to decide which is which in the autumn when the deciduous ones die back often with spectacular autumn colour.
As with division it is best to cut down deciduous plants in the spring, say late February through to late March, not in the autumn. Grass stems such as the miscanthus are very structural and add greatly to the seasonal look of a garden in the winter months, looking much better than bare soil. Keeping the stems on also helps protect the rootstock from winter damage, as well as giving some protection and foraging to our wildlife.
The evergreen forms will need a thinning periodically especially in the spring which is best achieved by cutting out any dead stems and flowerheads at their base. Most evergreens do not take kindly to being cut hard back, however it is possible to cut many evergreens hard back when they are actively growing, say between May to August.