Saturday, April 27, 2013

The Perennial Planting of Biennials and Perennials

The planting season is now in full swing and you can find me in my garden whenever time and/or weather allows.  Its is so fun to watch my yard transform as I remove debris , weed and put out new colorful spring garden flags. 

As I pull away layers of leaves and mulch I blanketed plants with for winter protection I anticipate their reappearance.  Its amazing how much satisfaction it gives me when I do see their little pointed heads poking through the ground.  Its equally amazing how disappointed I am when they don't appear.  But I've also learned to look at it as an opportunity to try out a new Perennial or Biennial and there we have it, what is the difference. 

   By definition a Perennial is a plant that lives 3 or more years.  Although many live much longer, that does explain why after having flowers faithfully return for many years they are no where to be found. When planting perennials from seed, most will not flower until the second year. I watched this happen as last summer I watched bunches of columbine plants grow big and healthy from seeds collected from friends' plants. This spring I have been rewarded for my patience with tons of beautiful flowers. 
   Most perenials die to the ground  in the winter but their roots stay alive. There are a few that are evergreens.  Different varieties are chold hardy to different degrees so plants that are perennials in one area may be annuals in another.
    Biennials, by definition, only live for two years.  The first year is put into the growth of the plant and like perennials, flower the second year. The hopes are that after the plants flower and seeds ripen the seeds will drop and grow new plants to start another two year cycle.  There again I have had Foxgloves and Hollyhocks both which are biennials come back strongly for years and then again suddenly one year not show up.  My hollyhocks especially, have been greatly missed.  I have since decided a more full proof method is to collect some seeds to plant myself.

Every year I make it a point to try a couple things I've never grown before.  Some are a great success and some wither away without a trace, but its all part of the fun.  I have the best luck going to dedicated nurseries and not the ones connected with hardware or department stores.  They may be a little more expensive but usually have healthier plants and more unique variety and can give you good advice on the care of the plant.  So spread your wings and have fun.

While beautifying your yard, don't forget some new decorative flags.
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Thanks for reading!  Happy planting.

Marilee and Josie
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