What better way can you think of to beautify your yard than with perennial plants?
If you live in the temperate part of North America, or even better, in a place where there is just a little frost and snow, you should consider the advantages of perennial flowers. Once planted, they will come back each year, returning your original investment of time and money several times over. Bulbs will bloom and propagate themselves more or less indefinitely within their natural range. Indeed, one of the most persistent marks of human occupancy is the flower bed that blooms long after a house in the woods or the countryside has fallen down on itself.
Many bulbs (like tulips and daffodils) "prefer" a cold winter dormancy before sprouting and blooming in the spring. While it is easy enough to duplicate that effect by storing bulbs in a refrigerator, it is very convenient to plant them once and let them come back year after year if Mother Nature will provide the cool. Some bulbs and some climates can't quite manage on their own, because ambitious gardeners have pushed the plants beyond their natural range, but many others adapt surprisingly well after a year or two.
One of the hardiest and most-loved perennial flowers is the daylily. Whether you choose the classic red-orange native cultivars or one of the hundreds of beautiful hybrids, you will find them easy to care for and beautiful to look at. Best of all, daylilies are prolific. After a few years, you will have enough to divide and share with others. They only want water and sunshine, though a little bit of fertilizer is never turned down. The plants are sturdy enough to ship wrapped in damp newspaper and will live for days with their bare roots in a bucket of water. Be scrupulous, though, about that sunshine. As your trees mature, you may find daylilies that formerly bloomed are now in a spot that is too shady. They will come up, but they may not bloom. Consider moving them or pruning back your trees. Daylilies are not true lilies and they get their name from their bloom only lasting a single perfect summer day. What better reason do you know of to buy and plant a LOT of them?
A handy trick to remember when planting Gladiolus bulbs (actually "corms") is to stagger the planting over time, so that the plants will bloom every few days rather than all at once. Glads also might need to be staked to protect them against being knocked down by wind or children or pets. Their dramatic flowers will reward the attention you provide.
Planting tulips and daffodils in the fall is a great way to remind yourself that winter is followed by spring. Again, you may live in a place where it is wise to dig the bulbs up and store them for part of the year, or you may prefer to plant more the next year and see how the ones from the year before have managed on their own. Chances are you know a more experienced gardener who can offer advice tailored to your area and its particular climate. If not, many seed and plant catalogs will advise you as to the suitability of their inventory to your area. Here in South Carolina, we have the Clemson Extension Service. No doubt, you have a similar "county agent" who would be pleased to advise you on which species work best in your environment.
I hope you have been entertained and inspired by this little guide. Just remember to watch out for squirrels, whose ability to delay gratification may not be as strong as yours. I would appreciate your taking a minute to vote "yes" below on the helpfulness of this guide, and maybe to look at some of my other guides and reviews, ranging from the silly to the highly useful.
I hope your day is pleasant,
Guide created: 28/09/06 (updated 11/01/09)