Garden Inspiration by Roy Diblik

Last year, several us here at Grimm’s Gardens attended a lecture by the renown plantsman and landscape designer Roy Diblik in Omaha, NE. Roy’s talk, along with his book “The Know Maintenance Perennial Garden” had inspired several of us to try out his ideas here in our arboretum. With an invitation by Doug Grimm to use a spot in the arboretum, three of us selected a number of perennials (mostly natives), designed block planting and planted them in late June of 2016. 


One of Roy’s ideas focused on filling landscape spaces with plants, using little or no mulch and weeding quickly with a push or strap hoe. By using a large number of perennials, you increase biodiversity, reduce pest and weed populations, and reduce the need for mulch. Since wood chip mulch does not occur naturally, it is not used in Roy’s designs. He uses a light layer of compost as his mulch when planting, but nothing else. We went a step in another direction, using our recycled sawdust mulch which breaks down quickly in landscapes. 

Shortly after planting our plugs July 2016

Another of Roy’s ideas is to use a small plant palette of 10 to 15 plant species for each individual planting. There should be masses of plants covering the ground each year to prevent weed seeds from germination. In March following the growing season, Roy recommends mowing down the whole bed with a mulching blade and leaving the stubble in place to increase degradable plant material and overall organic matter. The mulched stems and leaves also act as a natural mulch layer against the germination of weeds.

August 2016

Our first summer of 2016 we planted our separate blocks on a mound near the peaches and chestnuts in the arboretum. Designers Nadine Champlin, Rebecca Drew, and myself each planted a plot. Nadine and I used strictly native perennials, while Rebecca interspersed some common landscape perennials in her plot along with natives.  The plots have grown well and are looking great this spring. We did not mow down the plots with a mower this year, but are planning to next spring.  

September 2016

If you are interested in growing a landscape with Roy’s unique ideas, please contact Grimm’s Gardens for an estimate and design. 


Happy planting!

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