Striving for a repeat garden

Ask Kitty

Dear Kitty,
I want to have a part of my garden come back every year. But I am not sure what to start with, flowers or maybe herbs? Should these be planted separate from my vegetable garden?

Thank you for any help,
Striving for a repeat garden

Dear Striving,
The wonder of perennials! These are plants that return for three or more years. Some perennials with proper care will live on for your future family.

First things first, perennials can be planted in your vegetable garden if you wish. Be sure they are clearly marked so in the spring they are not mistakenly removed as weeds. Plan what plants you want and where you want them. The choices are endless for flowers, grasses and herbs. Take into consideration the plants height, how much it will spread and how fast. Perennials have two stages at which they can be planted – dormant and active. Dormant are usually planted in the fall while active can be planted in the spring or summer. This will be dependent on the perennials you choose.

Here are the basics for planting: work the soil where they are to be planted to a foot deep. Remove them from the pot, tickle the roots only a little and plant them in a hole the same depth as the pot they came from. Firmly pat the soil around them and water well. Although perennials require less attention, they are not completely care free. Regular care, watering 3 times a year, feeding, and mulching all must be done. Importantly, when they become crowded or are taking more space than you want they can be divided. Dividing is done in the spring or fall and it may be a few years before it needs to be done. This again depends on the chosen perennial. You can plant the divided plants in another spot or offer them to friends and family, although my friends would run when I came smiling with more daylilies. Daylilies tend to get aggressive with space and require considerable dividing. That aside, perennials provide a welcome delight to your garden in the spring as the come up of their own accord. I think perennials are great idea for a flower bed if you are looking for something that requires minimal work. I applaud your striving and wish you many years of joy as your perennials establish themselves in your space.

Enjoy the return of perennials each year with happiness,

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