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Page added on March 26, 2011

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Gardening – GETTING STARTED WITH PERENNIALS

When asked about starting a perennial garden I always reply it’s easier to move plants with a pencil on paper than with a shovel in soil. Always make an overall plan of the whole yard, front and back. Start by scaling out the lot size then position the house onto the drawing. Add in your driveway, deck, ulitity building , fire pit, walkways, any fences, gates and extended firplace chimmey if attached to the outside wall of your house. Position any existing trees that you have and plan to keep or add. Indicate on your layout which is north, south ,east, west. Then for a few days observe how nieghbouring structures impact on sunlight on your yard front and back. If your backyard faces south and existing nieghbouring buildings or trees block the afternoon sun then you have to plan to position sun loving plants in areas that receive more sun and select shade preferring plants for the shaded areas. Indicate what areas are receiving full sun, and what obstructions such as fences, buildings, trees, deck obstuct the sun. Some areas will recieve partial sun throughout the day and some areas will be in total shade all day. However it is most important to get a detailed layout how areas are affected. Then as you plan your flower beds and placement of shrubs and trees you will have some idea as to what will grow best as per exposure avialable.

Every plant has it’s ideal  location. Your garden will have micro areas which are spots that are more suitable for certain plants. What causes a micro location is perhaps the wall of your house, your fence, anything that blocks severe blasts of wind and cold air which that would normaly hamper growth of certian plants.  Micro locations are also where I plant perennials that are more tender and are rated for zone 4,5, or 6.

Your flower beds that are in exposed locations, consider more hardy plants. Shasta daisy, day lillies, delphiniums, iris, bleeding heart, bellflower, poppies, blanketflower, cronflower, joe pye weed, tall phlox are but afew that will withstand harsh conditions.

If your flowerbed is along a fence or wall place the taller selections closest to the fence and medium height in the centre and shortest in the foreground. Vary the heights, foilage, colour of your selections to add more interest. With a garden plot in the centre or inner yard place the taller plants in the centre, then medium  sized 1-2 ft around the taller ones and the shortest 3-12 inches along the border, agian varying the heights in each group for more interest. I planted hollyhocks along the southwest wall of my house and have termendous results of 6 ft plants in soil that is dry and rocky. Plant a hollyhock in rich fertile soil and it willgrow only 3 ft.

When shopping for perennials always look for plants with healthy stems and plenty of new growth at the base, this will asure that you will get blooms the same season.

Happy gardening

H. W. Kriaski









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