The dictionary definition of naturalistic is "in accordance with, or in imitation of, nature." So, when we design naturalistic areas of a garden, we are not ceding absolute control to our plants. We still need to exert enough control, for example, if we want our home garden to look natural, that we do not allow it to look messy. Neighbors do not like messy yards full of tall grass, dead stalks, and weeds.
There are a few tricks to remember. If you have a lot of self-seeding tall annuals, for example, cut the entire plants to the ground once they have finished flowering, gone to seed, and the seeds have fallen. I have blue larkspur that I do this with, as well as annual zinna and cosmos at the end of the season. Then the asters and Joe Pye weed can take center stage without any tall dead, brown neighbors waving in the breeze.
If you have large areas of self-seeding annuals, you may be able to mow them down with a mower at the end of their bloom season.
In small home gardens, continually cut back those plants that have done their stuff to allow more room for those whose bloom period is yet to come. Every plant needs its time in the sun and to strut its stuff unimpeded.
So, every week take your clippers out into the garden and cut down the dead stuff.
This is Moya Andrews, and today we focused on cutting down plants.