“First year sleep, second year creep, third year leap”
Perennials are plants that persist for more than one season. The hardiness level determines whether they are perennial in your garden climate. Usually more substantial in form and growth than most annuals, they are largely responsible for the lush beauty of English flower borders.
I want real flowers, perennials which not only grow and change and die, but also rise again and astonish me. A garden shouldn’t just bloom and look pretty; it should develop like the rest of life. Otherwise it, and we, live only to be spaded under. ~Emma L. Roth-Schwartz
Perennials Are The Hardest Working Plants In The Garden
Since they live longer, these plants can be slower to establish and bloom; they often require the maintenance of lifting and dividing every few years (unless they are of the type that hate to be moved like herbaceous peonies). The range of perennial flowering plants is incredible, which is one of the things that makes creating perennial plantings so much fun for gardeners. Of different forms and habits: tall or creeping and everything in between, a rainbow of bloom colors and foliage… for dry situations or for wet, for sweet or sour soil… – perennials originate from all around the world. You can’t grow all of them, but the choices for those in moderate climes are vast. Whole books, some very fat ones, are written about this type of garden plant. Discover your own favorites.
Best time to Divide Perennials -easy print-out reference from Garden Gate Magazine.[pdf file]
You might say they are the hardest working plants because they provide so much interest and color for so little in return. They can serve as groundcovers, link the shrubs and trees to the rest of the landscape and the house, are easily divided into new plants, and many are sturdy plants that ask little in care. Initial soil amendments and some mulch are all many of them will need for years of beauty. Find out which are stalwarts and which are sweet, but short term inhabitants of the garden.
A few good points:
Secrets of Success
- Always start with good soil preparation- this is the single most important thing you can do for perennial success.
- Right plant for right place- find out the pH of the soil, the sunshine levels, and the moisture state during your growing season. The growing information for specific plants will guide you before you buy. Plants that like where they are planted thrive. (that means get the conditions as close to what the natural conditions might be). Is it a mountain plant, a Mediterranean native, a wetland plant?
- Space the plants within the dimensions suggested and put at least three plants together- they grow well and look good that way.
- Cultivate around the perennials and add fertilizer regularly during the time they put on growth; use division of plants to keep them rejuvenated.
- Take notes and keep a journal, so you can remember all the information tidbits and what is planted where… some perennials are late starters, and some go dormant in hot weather. Many gardeners stick markers in the ground, but those can get lost. You will be glad if you wrote down the plant names, requirements, and placement.
A List of Perennials for Sunny Sites
[Sunny Border] from the list of what I’ve grown
A List of Perennials for Shady Sites
[Shade/Part Sun] a list of plants I’ve grown
Certain Plants for Certain Places
Ten Best Perennials To Grow