Get gardening: Add height, depth and colour to your beds

Come back every month, from April to August, for expert tips to get your garden blooming

It’s late-spring, and finally your yard is lush and green. You probably can’t wait to start digging. We’ll show you how to divide your perennials, add stakes to your tall-growing plants, nab weeds before they become unruly and select summer bulbs for colour.

Divide and conquer
One of the best ways to score new plants for your garden is to divide your own perennials. You may end up with enough for a new garden bed or perhaps to share with your garden buddy next door.

While some plants rarely need dividing, others gradually grow out like a doughnut, leaving an empty space in the middle—a sure sign it’s time to get out the spade.

For step-by-step instructions and a list of the plants best divided in late spring, check out Heritage Perennials.

Once you’ve made your divisions and relocations, note any colour gaps. Put little wooden reminder stakes into the garden so you’ll remember to fill them with bulbs in the fall.

What’s at stake
Flowers like peonies, delphiniums and summer phlox are lovely, but there’s not much to admire when a summer thunderstorm blows them down. To keep your plants looking their very best, stake them before they grow too tall.

Remember that you want to see the flowers and not the stakes, so don’t use anything too obtrusive. Bamboo stalks and natural-coloured twine blend into the garden wonderfully. To read how to stake with bamboo and twine, visit this tutorial on spider webbing.

Weeding between the lines
The pace at which plants grow amidst spring rain and sun is amazing. It’s not so wonderful, however, when the mock-speed growth comes from weeds that threaten to out-compete your plants for sun, water, and breathing room. Fortunately, there are some tactics to outsmart persistent weeds:

Stroll through your garden often—when you see a weed, pull it out from the root up. If you do this consistently in the early summer, before weeds go to seed, you’ll sail through the rest of the season. For more weeding tips, see Or, for tips on using mulch discourages weeds, go to

To keep lawn grass from creeping into your flowerbeds, create a sharp edge. Use a spade or edger to dig a 15 to 20 cm deep, but narrow, trench between the bed and lawn. You’ll want to do this once in spring and again in late summer or early fall. Installing permanent brick, aluminum or plastic edging is another low-maintenance option.

Terrific bulbs for summer colour
Dazzling dahlias, begonias, cannas, caladium, gladioli and pineapple plants are an excellent way to add more colour to your summer garden. You can grow these plants from bulbs in your flowerbeds, or try them in containers—often cheaper than purchasing full-grown plants later in the season. For more information on how to grow gorgeous summer bulbs, visit the
Netherlands Flower Bulb Institute.