Getting Started With Garden Perennials: Why not try perennials?

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Name: Bea Kimball
Little Rock, Arkansas; (Zone 7b)
Hellebores Hummingbirder Butterflies Irises Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
Jul 17, 2017 7:51 AM CST
My young neighbor asked me this as I worked to tidy up daffodil foliage this spring. She suggested that perennials would be less work as they would bloom all season.

I smiled and kept working. My irises would be blooming soon. Coreopsis and creeping phlox would follow.

I have a few annuals in my perennial bed to fill in blank spaces, but in different sections of my garden perennials start to bloom in February and go until frost.

To everything there is a season.

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Name: Cheryl
Brownstown, Pennsylvania (Zone 6b)
Native Plants and Wildflowers Photo Contest Winner: 2017 Composter Organic Gardener Million Pollinator Garden Challenge The WITWIT Badge
Garden Photography Photo Contest Winner: 2016 Bee Lover Butterflies Hummingbirder Spiders!
Jul 17, 2017 5:43 PM CST
Hey Bea,
I think you meant to type that your neighbor suggested "annuals" which bloom all season, and you prefer the beauty of the perennials--- and beautiful they are! I grow all of these as well except for the type of Coreopsis you have pictured at the very top-- Can you tell me what is this one called?
"My work is loving the world. Here the sunflowers, there the hummingbird — equal seekers of sweetness. Here the clam deep in the speckled sand. Are my boots old? Is my coat torn? Am I no longer young, and still not half-perfect? Let me keep my mind on what matters, which is my work which is mostly standing still and learning to be astonished." — Mary Oliver, from Messenger
Name: Bea Kimball
Little Rock, Arkansas; (Zone 7b)
Hellebores Hummingbirder Butterflies Irises Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
Jul 18, 2017 11:13 AM CST
No, actually she suggested perennials. She is new to gardening and did not understand that annuals need to be planted every year. I would actually find that a lot more work, especially as deer love annuals.

Deer decimated my pentas, moss roses, and ate three flats of pansies in one night. That's when I started researching deer resistant perennials. As it was spring, my neighbor didn't realize that I had a bed full of perennials that would soon fill the bed with color. They would also survive the local critters. A few annuals are deer resistant and I intersperse them with the perennials, but I've come to love my perennials.

Mercury Rising

I got two of them from American Meadows. I had them send them in mid-April because I knew I wouldn't be available to care for them earlier. They bloomed later than usual for Coreopsis but considering the heat we've had, they have flourished.
Name: Deb
Pacific NW (Zone 8b)
Region: Pacific Northwest Organic Gardener Deer Ferns Herbs Dragonflies
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Jul 18, 2017 11:27 AM CST
I like to mix in self-seeding annuals to my perennials beds, since most perennials give me at most 3-4 weeks of bloom, often only 2-3. Annuals, on the other hand, bloom their little hearts out all summer long. Ones that reliable re-seed for me are borage, poppies (CA and field), sweet annie, calendula, alysum, and love-in-a-mist. These all mix in well with my perennials - if they get too zealous, I just pull some.
I want to live in a world where the chicken can cross the road without its motives being questioned.
Name: Bea Kimball
Little Rock, Arkansas; (Zone 7b)
Hellebores Hummingbirder Butterflies Irises Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
Jul 23, 2017 4:07 PM CST
My garden is very small, probably about 100 square feet, if that. I do plant a few deer resistant annuals. Profusion zinnias have done well most years but have rarely come back from seed. Melampodium on the other hand love the sun and the heat. They come back year after year. Mostly I just have room for one or two annuals here or there between the perennials. I buy a six pack and a couple of 3 inch pots and the empty spots are full.

I planned my garden so something would always be blooming. Iris follow daffodils. If the deer don't get them, the lilies burst with color. Kniphofia have been an interesting addition. If I deadhead,coreopsis Nana goes until July. Mercury Rising is still blooming. The echinacea and rudbeckia shine now. As long as I deadhead, my lantana will go until frost.
Name: Claud
Water Valley, Ms (Zone 7b)
Charter ATP Member
Jul 10, 2018 12:52 AM CST
It seems Deer are a problem for a number of people.

You can plant whatever you like, if you'll spray your plants with a Garlic, Pepper, and Sage tea.

To make the tea:

I use a 16 quart stock pot and a 24 quart enameled steel canner to make six gallons of concentrated tea at a time. This will make 12 gallons of spray. You can make less of course.

For 3 gallons of tea, place 3 gallons of hot tap water in your canner and add 1/2 cup each of Garlic powder, Red Pepper powder, and Ground Sage (not Rubbed Sage like you would use in stuffing.).

Bring to a boil and continue boiling for 15 minutes. Turn off the heat and allow to cool overnight (Don't work with hot liquids). When the tea has cooled, use doubled knee highs to strain into gallon jugs (pickle) and then pour strained tea into 2 liter soda bottles for storage. The tea will keep without refrigeration for 2 years. Label the bottles of tea appropriately. The used spices can be spread around your plants and worked into the soil.

To use the tea dilute with an equal amount of tap water. For a sticker (so the rain won't wash your tea off) add 1 tablespoon of table molasses per 2 liters of spray (shake well to disolve the molasses). If you want an insectide add 1 tablespoon Ajax Orange dishwashing liquid per 2 liters of spray. My experience has been the tea applied with the molasses sticker will repel deer for about 2 months. Spray top and bottom of leaves to the point of runoff.

This tea also works when planting seeds. After you plant, spray the ground with the tea and raccoons and birds won't dig up your seeds (it masks the smell of the seeds so they can't find them.).

Personally, I use and can recommend the Hudson Insta-Spray.

I use Ray-o-Vac "D" rechargable batteries with it. They cost a bit more, but last much longer. The sprayer takes 4 D cell.

And Energizer Charger.

Hope this helps. Claud
[Last edited by saltmarsh - Jul 10, 2018 7:08 AM (+)]
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Name: Bea Kimball
Little Rock, Arkansas; (Zone 7b)
Hellebores Hummingbirder Butterflies Irises Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
Aug 31, 2018 3:04 PM CST
Actually, I use Irish Spring soap to keep the deer out of my flowers. I started last season and have found that I was even able to save the garden phlox and the hostas. I don't use sprays because around here "scattered showers" can occur at odd moments. I work evenings and get home too late to spray after an afternoon drenching. The soap will last through several good rainstorms and smells pretty good.

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