Society

Perennials are gardener’s friend

Gardening is often seen as an art form to men and women with a green thumb. Once the landscape is designed, homeowners may not want to change much from year to year. That is where perennial plants can be an advantage.

Designing a landscape and keeping the garden looking beautiful can take a keen eye. It also may require a lot of time and commitment. If home gardeners have to replant items year after year, gardening can become time-consuming and expensive. Turning to perennial plants and f lowers to serve as the anchor for a home garden can make the process easier.

Perennials are plants that live indefinitely. In terms of flowering plants, perennials will bloom every year. In essence, they have the staying power of shrubbery but are more delicate in nature and often appealing to the eye.

There are perennials for every season, soil type and sun exposure. Perennials come in a wide variety of blooming flowers or attractive foliage. Chances are if a homeowner wants to add perennials to the garden, there is a variety available that will fit his or her needs.

Here are some perennials that can be added to the garden: lavender, ornamental grasses, asters, chrysanthemums, irises, poppies, milkweed, goldentufts, anemones, columbines, daylilies, peonies and hostas.

Once perennials are in place, there is relatively minimal maintenance that is required. The tune-ups that may be needed are some deadheading to promote new and stronger growth and some cleaning up after winter before the new blooming season takes place.

Once the early spring season arrives and the ground is not too muddy or rain-soaked, clear out any leaves and debris that have gathered around where perennials are located. Gardeners can also till the mulch or soil in these areas to aerate the planting beds.

Using shears, cut down any dead grasses, stems and stalks from spent perennials that overwintered. Remove any dead wood and broken branches. Be careful not to trim spring-blooming shrubs because some f lowers bloom on year- old stems and this can cause the plant not to flower.

Perennials that aren’t flowering as well as they used to or have dead centers may need to be divided to promote stronger grow th. This should be done in early spring before the plant blooms or late fall before the winter arrives. Dividing plants and replanting not only grows the garden, but also it is a healthy revitalization for the plant.

Gardeners who prefer to take a laid-back approach to gardening may appreciate the ease with which a beautiful and easy-tomaintain landscape can be created with perennials.


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2011-06-09 digital edition



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