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Page added on April 20, 2010

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Why have a perennial garden

Even though our flowering season lasts only about five months the dazzle of perennials can be unbelievable. Everyone wants a hassle free glorious garden, so with a bit of effort now will save you loads of problems later and have fully developed plants that will produce year after year. Even though zone 2 perennials can servive extreme conditions, that being hot summers and cold winters, dry out in the winter will kill plants as it will in the summer. It’s early March and we’re having an melt down, this exposes planter beds along the east and south sides of the house. These areas will soon become bone dry, I recommend dumping any avialable snow and or water on them to prevent early dry out. If the top 2 inches of soil drys out , which is where most perennial root systems are, some of your plants will surely winter kill. So keep  the moisture  in until the end of March. If we get more snow before then it certianly help to preserve the root systems. Be patient and wait  until early to mid april before clearing off the garden beds. Watch for new shoots that may be showing by then. Plants like fern, hosta, and monkshood may not show new growth until mid May due to being planted in shaded areas. Also be aware that all plants vary in their spring sprouting due to elements like planted depth, maturity of plant, temperture and moisture and snow for winter protection.

Some perennials are everygreen, keep their leaves on over winter and remaain green in the spring. Thyme, coralbells, berginia and pinks are afew examples. Do not cut them back in the fall or spring except for dead stems. Also if you have juniper, water well if spring conditions are dry, otherwise the tips of the branches will turn yellow which is certian die back. Later on in the spring when new growth shows then prune off any dead tips.

Biennials take up a part of the garden, thought to be a perennial because they produce seeds so profusely that once you plant them they will sprout seeds around the original plant, and the demise of the main plant will be hardly noticed. Biennials take two years to develope, the first year a green cluster of leaves will form and the plant will flower on the second season, then drop haordes of seeds. Iceland poppy, hollyhock, canterbury bells, are but afew that are biennials.

So to get that glorious hassle free perennial garden, do some planning, start with afew easy to grow plants, learn their habits, and get at it. Try shasta daisy delphiniums, day lillies, cornflower,poppies, Iris, lupin, for get me nots, and then enjoy the suprizes that develope.

happy gardening

H. W. Kriaski


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