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Question by No Shortage (Wears Bifocals Now): Is there a way to temporarily “close down” my perennial gardens?
I have two perennial gardens. They are four feet wide by approximately 20 feet long, and they bloom all spring, summer and fall with perennials. This year I want to stop the plants from coming up by possibly covering the areas with plastic, and then I want to cover that with an attractive, but maintenance-free material.

If I do this, will I kill the plants once and for all? (That is not my goal). I cannot use wood chips because one of my dogs likes to swallow them whole. Any ideas?
I knew people were going to wonder why I want to do this. Those gardens are along a border we share with a difficult neighbor who comes outside every time I am out there. I would like to be left alone this year, that’s all.
Brian, I would if I could! We have strict rules about things like that where I live, and a fence is not permitted in that area.

Best answer:

Answer by Kaf
Why do you want to do this? Smothering your plants in plastic for a year is generally a bad thing.

Know better? Leave your own answer in the comments!
Making a Garden of Perennials "It is the intention of the publishers to make this series of little volumes, of which _Making a Garden of Perennials_ is one, a complete library of authoritative and well illustrated handbooks dealing with the activities of the home-maker.""It is the intention of the publishers to make this series of little volumes, of which _Making a Garden of Perennials_ is one, a complete library of authoritative and well illustrated handbooks dealing with the activities of the home-maker."

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Pest control in the perennial garden

Article by Tony Robinson

One of the many advantages of growing perennials is the ability of these beautiful flowers to return to full bloom season after season. While this ability to bloom repeatedly is one of the things that makes perennials so special, it also introduces a number of important factors into your gardening plan. One of the most important of these is a proper pest control regimen.

While a garden full of annuals starts each season as a blank slate, the perennial garden is essentially a work in progress. The fact that the plants stay in the ground through winter makes things like proper pruning, disease management and pest control very important. If the garden bed is not prepared properly after the current growing season, chances are the quality of the blooms will suffer when the next season rolls around.

One of the most important factors to a successful perennial pest control regimen is the attention and vigilance of the gardener. As the gardener, you are in the best position to notice any changes in the garden, such as spots on the leaves, holes in the leaves, or damage to the stems. Any one of these could indicate a problem such as pest infestation or a disease outbreak.

It is important to nip any such problem in the bud, since a disease outbreak or pest infestation can easily spread to take over an entire garden. Fortunately for the gardener, there are a number of effective methods for controlling both common pests and frequently seen plant diseases.

Some of these methods are chemical in nature, such as insecticides and fungicides, while others are more natural, like using beneficial insects to control harmful ones. While both approaches have their advantages and disadvantages, many gardeners prefer to try the natural approach first, both for the health of the garden and the environment.

There is an additional benefit of the natural approach that many gardeners are unaware of. These days, it is very popular to combine a koi pond with a garden, for a soothing, relaxing environment. If you do plan to incorporate some type of fish pond into your garden landscape, it is critical to avoid using any type of insecticide or fungicide near the pond, since it could seep into the water and poison the fish. Fish are extremely sensitive to chemicals in the environment, especially with a closed environment like a pond.

As with any health issue, for people or plants, prevention is the best strategy to disease control and pest control alike. The best defense for the gardener is to grow a garden full of the healthiest, most vigorous plants possible. Whenever possible, varieties of plants bred to be disease or pest resistant should be used. There are a number of perennials that, through selective breeding, are quite resistant to the most common plant diseases, so it is a good idea to seek them out.

About the Author

Tony Robinson is an international author and webmaster. In his busy life he finds time to “Smell the Roses”. For geat tips, techniques and articles visit

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