Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Gardening 101: Perennial Gardening

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Memorial Day, the official launch of summer, brings hot days and lots of fun in the sun. What is the biggest highlight of summer for me? Gardening. Love it. No really, I L.O.V.E. it! Almost as much as I love to paint. Indoor projects are set aside for the summer and it's time for all things outdoors. 

I am a perennial gardener at heart and self taught at that. I have always loved digging and even at our first apartment I planted a little spot of flowers just for me. Could. not. help. myself. 

I really started when we purchased our first house simply but checking out what was already planted at the house. Moving things around. Adding plants and even killing plants. Along the way, I have learned a lot about perennial gardening.

1. Planting perennials:

  • Whether planting perennials or annuals, always loosen the root ball. This frees the roots (especially if the plant is root bound) and allows the roots to establish themselves quicker.

  • After digging your planting hole, add a little organic food and mulch and mix in with loose soil
  • Place plant on top, fill hole with water and let sit for a few minutes until absorbed. 

  • Place dirt back around plant and firmly push down around the base of the plant to remove any air bubbles. Then add a little loose soil around the top to help with drainage. This will actually leave a little 'basin' around the plant that enables water to drain into the plant.
  • Water, water, water. Did I say water?

2. Knowing what to plant where.

  • Almost like choosing a color for your walls, choosing the right plant for the right space can be tricky. But, not has hard as you think. Use the guidelines that come with the plant and know that plants are pretty forgiving. 
  • Most plants will adopt to the space they are put in (within reason). I have many plants that are shade lovers but I grow them in part sun. I also have many sun loving plants that grow in mostly shade and do well.
  • The key to knowing if your plant is unhappy in it's home? If after 2-3 years, it doesn't bloom. Unless it is a bi-annual bloomer!

  • Perennials will take close to three years until they really bush out and fill in. Until then, they can sometimes look kind of skinny and sickly.
  • Most perennials will not bloom the first year they are planted. Many will not bloom the first couple of years. But, if after three years you are not getting flowers? You can bet your perennial does not like it's home. Move it someplace different. Kind of like rearranging furniture.

 Q and A
  • Best time to plant? Fall. Absolutely. 
  • Best time to trim? Very early Spring (for most plants).
  • When your plants mature, they will have 'babies'. Babies are great to transplant.
  • So, I planted my plants and they look like they are dead!

Next in the gardening series, "Gardening 101: Landscaping on the Cheap"

Linking up this week to:

Show Me What Ya Got at Not Just a Housewife
Nifty Thrifty Tuesday at Coastal Charm
Wow Us Wednesdays at Savvy Southern Style
Show and Tell Friday at My Romantic Home
Frugalicious Friday at Finding Fabulous

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