Friday, March 27, 2009

Perennial Basics, Consider Birds, Filling the Gaps and Maintaining Beauty

We sell a wide variety of perennials at Skillin’s. We define perennials as usually green or herbaceous plants that are best planted in beds with other perennials or as a complement to your shrub and tree (woody) or annual plantings or other aspects of your landscape world.

Perennial plants are intended to give us the ever hopeful gardener years of enjoyment as we nurture and feed them, pinch and prune them, and divide and worry about them. Yes, perennials become an extension of our family. Many perennials do not flower for long periods of time which only makes our appreciation of their colorful offerings that much sweeter when that time of year comes. Perennials are a blessing!

Last year I came across a great article in a garden center trade magazine called “Green Profits” titled “Perennial Gardening Basics”. I think the article is fantastic for all perennial gardeners. For the next few weeks, I intend to give you small excerpts from the article (to whet your perennial gardening whistle). If at any time you would like the entire article emailed to you just let me know at and I will send you a “Word” attachment.

For The Birds

Another consideration when planning a perennial garden is the type of wildlife in your area. There are perennials available to attract birds and butterflies and also plenty that will discourage our friends who might see a garden as a buffet table. Talk to the perennial expert at your local garden center to find out options that will work in your area. Wildlife gardens are becoming more and more popular, so chances are your favorite garden center has plenty of “attractive” options.

Filling Gaps

Of course, a new perennial garden will not be bursting with plants. Perennials take about three years to fill in and reach optimum size. A great way to fill some gaps without spending a fortune is with annuals, which help to add color and interest while your perennials mature. Even existing perennial gardens go through periods of the year when few plants are in bloom.

Maintaining Beauty

One of the main reasons gardeners of all skill levels love perennial gardens is that they require less maintenance than other alternatives like vegetables, roses and even lawns. They do, however, need regular care and attention for peak performance and health. But before you groan about the work required, remember gardening is a great form of exercise, and light gardening can burn as many as 300 calories an hour - similar to a moderate walk or a game of golf. Here are some weekly and seasonal perennial garden duties to add to your “workout.”

Skillin's Greenhouses
March 27, 2009 (reprint from 2008)

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