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The most beautiful month in my garden is June. So many things are in bloom and everything is healthy and prospering. As the month winds down, it is time to give some of those perennials a hair cut. Cut the perennials whose flowers are spent or the plant is starting to look leggy, or has fallen to the ground. Salvia is a great example. The flower spikes are mostly finished flowering and often the plant opens up in the middle. Time to “take off their heads”! With salvia, the best thing to do is to cut the plant to the ground. Cut to the basal leaves, about an inch above the ground. You do not want to cut into the plant crown. You will see new green stems start to emerge from the base of the plant. The plant will flower again but the stems will be more compact.
Another plant that benefits from shearing is catmint (nepeta). There is no need to deadhead this plant – it could take all day! Once the plant has flowered, it will open up in the center so its is best to shear it back to 2 or 3 inches. If you have a helper, once person can gather the plant stems together into a ponytail and the other can give it one quick clip with the shears. If you are alone and working with a large plant, it can be faster to tie up all the stems with some twine, make a cut and then all the refuse is bundled ready for the compost heap. Catmint stems will reliably rebloom within a month, although it will not be as vigorous as the first blooming.