I’ve had an interest in ‘growing stuff’ for a number of years now, but my true passion for gardening has been cultivated (no pun intended) in the last two years, since buying our first home.
When we first moved here, creating a garden design with perennials in mind was of paramount importance to me. The property was pretty bare from a botanical standpoint – almost like a blank canvas, waiting to be painted upon.
My goal has been to bring our property to life – to have it bursting with lush green foliage and a wide assortment of colourful flowers.
It’s probably important to mention that I use the term “design” very loosely! While I will certainly plan where I want my gardens to go and what size I want them to be, but I tend to enjoy flying by the seat of my pants a little when it comes to putting in plants!
My only real requirements are that my plants be almost exclusively A) Perennials and B) As small as possible (when planted).
Don’t get me wrong – I’m the furthest thing from a gardening snob! Seeing my neighbours out digging in their gardens each spring warms my heart – regardless of what types of flowers they are putting in. I strongly believe that EVERYONE should make time to connect with the earth and mother nature in general.
I guess my love for perennials simple stems (the unintential puns are flying today) from my fascination with watching something grow from one year to the next. I almost feel like I’m the parent of many children – I nurture them as best I can, and feel a great deal of pride as they grow and blossom (literally) over the years.
The idea of planting a cold-intolerant plant, only to watch the poor thing die at the end of the season just seems a little odd to me (but I guess I CAN understand the appeal of easily adding life and colour to one’s property during the growing season).
Of course, like a fine wine, perennial gardens often require some time before you start to see the fruits of your labours. There is a certain level of unpredictability inherent in this approach as well – it’s hard to know for sure what your garden is going to look like, especially when just starting out.
But I think this is in fact one of the real pleasures of perennials! Sure, your garden might end up looking a little rough around the edges at first, but with a minimal amount of love and attention, you’ll be amazed with how well things progress. I’m constantly surprised by new blooms and unexpected growth during the spring and summer months – something a bed of petunias just can’t provide.
Of course, if you have the money and don’t want to wait, you can easily head to your local nursery and purchase large perennials instead. I just happen the love the idea of starting from square one (ok, maybe “square two” – I definitely don’t grow from seed as much as I’d like to). Not only is it much less expensive, but like I’ve said there is just a real thrill that comes from watching something grow and prosper under your care!
And it’s EASY! Far easier than keeping houseplants alive, in my experience.
Once you do the initial dirty work (don’t forget the mulch!), all that’s required is a little maintenance from time to time. Nature does the rest!
I know we won’t be in this house forever, but I like the idea of leaving behind a living legacy of sorts. Something that perhaps inspires others (the next owners included) to get into gardening.
I’m sure I’ll be a little sad leaving all my “children” behind, but I’ll also feel a sense of satisfaction, knowing that my green investment will likely pay dividends for years to come.