Helen’s Haven gets a nip and tuck – nipping nippons, tucking tansys.

There are many plants in Helen’s Haven that are fine on their own, but many are even better with a little help from me.  With a little nip here and tuck there, I’m able to delay blooms, prevent leggy-ness, and share the wealth.

Nipping to Delay Bloom Time

In one area of the Mixed Border, there is a batch of bee balm, Monarda ‘Jacob’s Cline.’

In the winter, there is nothing showing in this area ‘cept seed.  Winter is

Front of bee balm batch nipped to delay bloom
Front of bee balm batch nipped to delay bloom

followed by the birth of tiny Monarda giving spring greens.  In early summer, haunting red blooms flower their hearts out.  These flowers attract hummingbirds and butterflies.    After the flowers are spent, the Cannas arrive taking the border through frost.

Bee balm reseeds herself readily in Helen’s Haven despite mulching with a heavy hand.  Some find bee balm too aggressive a re-seeder to want in their garden. Indeed it is.  However, I also find it easy to thin out.

At home in a wildlife garden such as Helen’s Haven, or cottage and country gardens, bee balm responds well to nipping back.  To extend the display, I nip back half of the plants.  This nipping delays blooming, effectively extending the flowering time, giving more time for the wildlife to enjoy and allows more time for the Cannas to fill out.

Nipped Nippon Daisy

Nipped Nippon Daisy

Nipping to Prevent Leggy-ness

Many plants benefit from nipping to prevent leggy-ness.  A great example is the Nippon daisy.  This plant is a great fall bloomer.  Always starting out in a nice mound; but if not nipped, it will get leggy.  Nippon daisy can be nipped several times up to about July 4th.  Then let it go.  A little nip helps her stay in shape.

Tucking to Share the Wealth

I tuck tansy cuz I can.  I also nip her.  In the spring, the lacy leaf is a great addition to the garden.  In Helen’s Haven, the leaf is valued more than the flower.  When it goes to flower, it tends to get leggy – not that this is a

Tansy in the back ground

Tansy in the background

problem, but when it goes to flower, the leaves start to look ratty.  To me, the leaf is so desirable, it is tucked in other places of the garden; tucked in areas that could benefit from a little green.  Tucking Tansy in the back border is done often.

Tansy is also shared often here, passing along plants to friends to tuck in their gardens as well.

Other plants that are nipped and tucked in Helen’s Haven:








Give your garden a little nip and tuck.  Help your garden stay in shape and get around.



  1. I tucked Cleome this year cuz you did last year and I was inspired to do it in my new garden. I’ve been looking for some lychnis and love yours.

  2. FGG, I like your new look!

  3. kathy Lintz said

    I will try to keep nipping my bee balm next year. I was wondering if you have any suggestion for a plant in front of the bee balm to keep it upright? Kathy

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