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Dividing perennials with children

Posted by Dawn Isaac on 29 Mar 2010 at 07:37 PM

I have to admit something.  I can't remember how much any of my children weighed when they were born.  I'm also hazy on when they began to walk and I've no idea what any of their first words were.  However, I think I will always remember Saturday 27th March 2010 because this was the date my six-year-old daughter divided her first perennial.

I'm a massive fan of division because it instantly gives you new plants, it improves the performance of most perennials and it's so simple that, as Ava so ably demonstrated, even a child can do it.

In case you were wondering, it was a heuchera (pictured above).  These are ideal candidates because, once you shake off the soil, you can quite easily feel where the plant 'wants' to be divided.  It does take a small amount of force to break off the different sections, but slightly older children should have no problem.  It's then a case of replanting the divisions as quickly as possible and watering them in well.  You can also remove a few of the leaves to give the roots less thirsty foliage to support whilst they get over the shock of being manhandled by a junior gardener.

For younger children, a nice place to start with the idea of divisions is clumps of small bulbs.  Chives for example, respond well to being split into smaller groups and can recover quite well from the over-enthusiastic ministrations of little hands.  In fact, I might try this with the younger two next weekend.  I feel another childhood milestone coming up... 

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