Monday, March 31, 2014

So you want to Start a Garden (Part three)

Continuing with our questions from So you want to Start a Garden (Part One)

Most people when they think of gardening think of vine-ripened tomatoes, crisp beans, and zucchini bread . . . lots of zucchini bread.
Me, I think of flowers. I love the variety I find in their colors, their fragrances, and their size and shape.  I have people come to me all the time saying, “I’ve got this flower growing in my garden.”  Usually within two or three questions, I have identified the plant without even seeing a picture of it.

I told you I was a borderline obsessive gardener!

When it comes to flowers, I could go on forever.  But, don’t worry I’ll keep this short.

Flowers come in many categories, however, I will limit the discussion here to two—annuals and perennials. The question is which one do you want to grow?  Both have their pros and cons.

Annuals

Annuals are fun flowers to grow. The give it their all, pouring out nonstop blooms all summer long.  They general start from seed, bloom, and produce seeds all in one year. But once frost touches their tender stems, they often die out.

Pros:
·       They are good for container gardening and hanging baskets.  You plant seedlings into pots around your house and within a very short time, you’ll have colorful additions to your patio or entryway.
·       They are a great burst of color for a dreary location. Sun or shade, annuals can brighten any area.  I have even gone so far as to put pots among the green foliage of Hosta plants to add a smattering of color to the usual green leaves of the well-loved perennial.
·       They are usually easy to grow and very forgiving.  Just keep an eye on the amount of water they need.
Cons:
·       The biggest drawback is they die after one season.  Although you can plant them in a garden plot, having to replant them year after year, this gets tiresome, especially if you have a large garden.

Perennials are wonderful plants if you want to put them in the ground one year and have them return year after year. These are my favorites for garden plots. 


Pros:
·       Each plant has a different blooming season, which means your garden is always changing.  I had a one plot near the entrance to my door that changed with the seasons. (Shown above.) Tulips and Daffodils in early spring, Lily of the Valley in late spring, followed by Cone Flowers and Black-eyed Susan in the summer months. 
·       They come back year after year after year. 
·       They grow in size will every passing season.  The nice thing is if you want to grow the size of your garden, or add an additional garden to your yard, after several years you can divide some plants.  Instead of one plant, you now have two or three. (This is a great offset to the original purchase price.)
Cons:
·       Their blooming season is short lived. Most perennials put out blooms for no more than four to six weeks a year, unlike annuals that bloom non-stop.
·       They can be pricey.  However, if you subscribe to garden catalogs, you can get them for much cheaper.

That’s some of the basics about the two categories of flowers.  There are others like shrubs and trees, but I’ll handle them in another post.
Your turn:  Which flowers are your favorite?

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