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Success Story: Flower Supports

Cindy and Bob Postma have a problem.

In the 11 years since these Indiana gardeners got the gardening bug, they have built two perennial borders, three island beds and packed a deck with containers of every size and shape. They have planted 40 varieties of daylilies, 10 of coleus and dozens of perennials, annuals and vegetables.

Now, the Postmas are running out of space.

Since slowing their plant passion isn't an option, they have a solution. Actually, they have three solutions: move, divide and stake.

Time to move
"When I'm planting I get carried away and the second year all of a sudden the bed is overcrowded," Cindy said. "I love so many plants, it's hard to hold back."

When it becomes clear that a bed is too crowded, Cindy pulls out her shovel and gets to work.

"I move plants in the spring or fall when they won't be bothered as much by the disturbance," she said. "Then I can pick out exactly where I want them and just fit them right in."

Divide and conquer
When perennials are as happy as the Postmas (what with the truckloads of mushroom compost and hardwood mulch they apply every year), they grow big, both above and below ground.

So, every three years or so, in the fall or spring, Cindy digs up a plant and divides it into two or more plants. One goes back in the original spot and the other gets a new home, either in her own garden or, more frequently these days, in the garden of one of her friends.

Which brings us back to her 40 varieties of daylilies. "I'm going to be in trouble in a couple of years as they fill out," she said. And there's more trouble coming; she has four more varieties in pots waiting to be planted.

Keep flowers standing tall
A healthy, spreading perennial doesn't have to flop all over the ground; it can grow up instead.

"I've found that good staking is a key to using less space and making the garden look its best," Cindy said. She uses a variety of Gardener's Supply flower supports to keep her plants under control.

"I use Grow-Through Supports for yarrow, peonies and bleeding heart. This year I used a Grow-Through Support for my baby's breath and it grew more upright and compact," she said.

Grow-Through Supports must be in place at the beginning of the season. To support plants that become tall and floppy during the season, Cindy uses Linking Stakes and Y-Stakes. "That helps to keep the plant in control and from taking up space that I don't have," she said.

Finally, she uses Single-Stem Supports for individual Oriental lilies. "When the rainstorms came they started to flop. The flowers are so heavy that the stems would have toppled or bent without support," Cindy said.

It all started with a sprinkler
Cindy hasn't always been such a passionate gardener. In fact, she can tell you exactly how it all started.

"My gardening really erupted when we got an underground sprinkler system about ten years ago," she said. "All of a sudden I could really garden and not spend all of my time moving hoses around."

That was all it took. Oh yeah, and a love of daylilies, Oriental lilies, butterflies and hard work. "Part of the excitement is butterflies and other things like that I see as I'm working in the garden," she said. Another part is seeing the delight on other people's faces.

"I want you to see something that tickles your fancy wherever you look," she said. She plants flowers that are interesting and beautiful of different sizes, shapes and heights. Then she mixes in statuary of different sizes, like the baby fawn she just put under a tree.

"I want people to smile," she said. And she wants to add just one more plant to her garden.

Click here to read more profiles of great home gardeners.

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