Perennial flowers grow well and profusely here. They surround the house, wrap around an old maple tree, and line up along stone walls. As one example, a twelve-foot-square area includes two rose bushes, a peony, daylilies, coriopsis, lavender, columbine, daffodils and a ground covering of variegated vinca, grape muscari, and johnny-jump-ups- with other areas equally populated. The gardens are full of wildlife: toads, wood frogs, garden snakes, and many bird couples residing in or near (this year we have Phoebe, Robin, Scarlet Tanager, Hummingbird, Sparrow, Chickadee, Finch, and Pileated Woodpecker among others). There is the constant buzzing of bees from spring until frost and many other bugs. It is a wonderful place to wander and observe.
|Perennials garden in early spring|
From daffodils until asters the flowers bloom like crazy. Some are out-of-this-world scentwise, lilacs and old roses especially, and all summer I'm out there with a scissors filling vases. So much to look at, and smell, and enjoy. If there were heaven on earth, it's got to be a perennials flower garden. All through each winter the sights and scents of these flowers are fully in my mind. Those are beautiful thoughts.
This must sound idyllic, and it may even seem magical when you find out what they are growing in. If the plants had been put into deep, rich soil it would be a no-brainer to understand how they do so well. But most were started eleven years ago on top of sandy, gravelly fill; stuff that bore no resemblance to dirt whatsoever. Loggers, years earlier had left behind a substantial amount of wood chips that since composted into a blackened substance. I hauled this by the bucketful out of the woods and used it to cover the roots as each plant was set into place on top of the fill. It seems the composted wood got them going.
Except for an annual pruning of the shrubs, I don't do much with these gardens. I don't rake leaves out of them. Weeds are incidental. The gardens never get watered. No hauling of mulches or compost.
So what did I learn? That it doesn't take deep, rich, well-cultivated soil to successfully grow a perennials garden. And that very little care is needed. And no, I'm not ready to give total credit to fairies, gnomes, and elves. In a next post I'll compare this type of garden with my observations of the mostly-annuals vegetable garden. -jmm