Perennials are the roller coaster of the amusement park, the thrillers of a cottage style garden. They are plants that live for three years or longer. Most go dormant, returning each season. But some herbaceous varieties are evergreen. Perennials operate like loyalty customer schemes where the longer they are planted, the more they reward you with spectacular profits year after year.
The caveat though is to only propagate perennials suited for your area’s idiosyncrasies. In Central Texas, that includes wet, humid springs, drought-plagued scorching summers, gorgeous temperate falls, and winters articulated by alternating freezing cold fronts and balmy respites.
Stop dreaming about perennials recommended in books written for other regions, and focus on those recommended by your local nurseries, not big box chain stores!
I love cruising old neighborhoods and spotting well-tended unique gardens, not those groomed by professionals, but those cultivated by real gardeners. I frequently admired one such garden thriving around a humble, immaculate white framed house a few blocks from our home. I noticed an older gentleman in a big sun hat and denim overalls working outside one day and decided to stop and explore. What an inspiring conversation we had! He eagerly showed me his composting system and partner planting of flowers amongst rows of vegetables. I’ll talk more about partner planting in another post! I learned more about perennial gardening for our area from him in that one visit than any glossy magazine could ever offer. I also walked away laden down with gifts of ruffly red poppy seeds, purple iris bulbs, and vining geranium cuttings.
What a day!
How does your perennial garden grow?
Blue and Pink Phlox
Bulbs: Iris, Daylily, Canna
Texas Star Hibiscus