At this time of year, the garden has really taken off – it’s lush and new flowers are appearing every day. If you recall, I left as the peonies were in bloom, the catalpa trees had yet to bloom, the catmint was showing very pale lavender flowers, the spirea was about to bloom and the rose bushes had buds.
Now, the catmint is full of vivid lavender flowers, the Annabelle hydrangea is in full bloom, all of the roses are blooming, the peonies have left for another year, the catalpa flowers came and went while I was away, as did the spirea. Day Lilies are blooming, the crown vetch is full of flowers, the bee balm has flowered.
Love the flowers on the Crown Vetch – they remind me of clover.
After eight summers here at the cottage, armed with a lot of patience and a willingness to do it slowly, plant by plant, the perennial gardens I created more than pay me back every year.
We moved into the cottage at the end of August in 2005, so, except for planting the boxwoods, we didn’t do any gardening. In the spring of 2006, I started planting the big garden bed, for that’s all there really was here. There were a few hostas near the house, some sedum in the big garden bed, the peonies, the flowering quince and the bridal veil spirea. Everything else was added over the course of 8 years. And I really haven’t added much at all in the past 3 years.
I added two beds at the side of the house as well as the beds in front of the shed. I added the Chicken Wire Fence Garden. And the lilac. I added the bed in front of the porch where the boxwoods live, along with a hydrangea and a rose bush.
All of this was done slowly, as time and budget would allow. Some years, I could only afford to add a few plants.
Building a perennial garden takes patience.
You have to be willing to see the possibilities, to know that it will pay off in the end.
I wanted lush, densely-planted cottage gardens. And now, eight years later, that’s what I’ve got.
I’m not a gardener who uses annuals very much, though my hanging plants and the plants in the galvanized tub on the funky patio are annuals. Most of the plants that are in pots and planters are annuals. As are the impatiens….but I overwintered them and they rebloomed this year (so happy about that!), so I’m going to call them perennials. Or maybe biennials – we’ll have to see how they do this winter. I did use annuals as filler in the early days of the gardens, but now I don’t have to.
Isn’t that wonderful?
Every year, my gardens come back, fuller and more lush than ever. Like old friends who come back every season for a long visit, so do my perennials. I have to do very little at this point except weed. I did a lot of that yesterday and my allergies are screaming in protest. But that’s to be expected after two and a half weeks away at this time of year.
If you’re just starting a garden and you have the space and the time and the patience, consider planting a perennial garden. You don’t need to spend a lot of money.
You just need a few plants.
You don’t need to hire a landscaper or gardening professional.
You just need to be willing to take a leap, to experiment, to build the gardening dream that you see in your mind’s eye. Just as I have no desire to have a decorator ‘do’ my home, I don’t want another gardener to ‘do’ my garden.
Where is the fun in that?
Believe me, it is so worth it in the end. These beauties bloom for weeks and attract butterflies and bees and hummingbirds. In some cases, as with my coneflowers and morning glories and sedum and yarrow, they reseed. What a delightful surprise it is to discover a volunteer plant coming up elsewhere in the garden or on the property.
They love to perform.
And you get to experience the enormous pleasure that comes with tending and nurturing your garden. Just as you tend and nuture and love a child, the same goes for a perennial garden. Eventually, you reach that day when you can let your ‘child’ fly, when you can trust that the child will be just fine on his own.
My babies are just fine on their own. They might need a trim here and there, they may need more space. That comes with parenting, don’t you think?
The proud mama of many children, currently doing just fine on their own.