Perennials, Repeat Pleasures

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Perennials are one of my favorite types of plants to have in the garden.

Perennials are flowering plants that go dormant in the winter and return each spring. There are literally hundreds and hundreds of different types of perennials. Perennials have as many different blooming seasons, colors, textures and sizes as there are types. This is what makes perennials so fabulous. Complete gardens can be created from using strictly perennials.

By planting different types of perennials in your gardens you can have color from the first of spring until a hard frost in the fall. If you are lucky enough to live in Planting Zones 8-10 you get to have color all year long!

Some perennials are grown for their striking and beautiful foliage, others for their flower. Some perennials will only bloom once per season, but the show is spectacular! Many perennials will bloom repeatedly throughout the growing season. Dead-heading the spent flowers will encourage more to bloom. Use a good, sharp pair of pruning shears or garden scissors to remove the spent foliage.

Adding compost or organic fertilizer twice per season (spring and fall) your perennials will be lush and beautiful. After a few seasons you will be able to spread these perennials around in your own yard and share them with friends. Another added benefit of perennials, they multiply! Most perennials can be divided easily. Choose a cool day for dividing your plants and make sure the plants get plenty of water, so they will recover quickly.

Planting perennials for the best show...plant them in groups. By planting a few (or more) in the same area you will end up with waves of color in your garden. This is striking. If you would like a more informal look spread them out, so you have color here and there.

When creating a perennial garden, as is a good idea with any garden, lay out the design and place the plants before putting them in the ground. This will give you a good idea of how the garden will look when it is finished. It is easier to make changes before all the holes are dug. Check the information tags to find out the requirements of each plant. If you plant the perennials where they will be happy, the results will astound you.

I even use perennials in my planters. They make an interesting and unusual look in pots and even hanging baskets. I only use annuals as an accent tucked here or there in my planters. This is also a time saver in the spring, your pots will grow all by themselves.

You will get many compliments on your planters, because they are not the same old Impatiens or Petunias. There are many plants that are only perennial in warm climates. That�s ok! If you like it, grow it. In the fall simply pull up the plant, (many of these have bulbs or tubers) and store it in a cool dry place for the winter.

Using perennials will allow you to use your creativity and your imagination to create the garden of your dreams.

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Vera Pappas, owner of Green Nation Gardens, a web store selling eco-friendly garden supplies and outdoor living products. Please visit:

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