Perennials...



I've talked a bit about gardening lately,
probably because it's one of my loves in life and it's that season.. Yeah!
I enjoy getting my hands dirty and seeing and/or tasting the wonderful results later.

I recently talked about how to save money on annuals and how to pick the best of the selection and then went shopping myself only to find clearanced perennials! So... here I am talking perennials :)

First off I have to say I love perennials!

You say, "What are perennials?" Perennials are plants that will come back next year assuming you live in the right climate. Some plants that are perennials in Georgia, won't be in Indiana. Perennials are often labeled with zones that they can survive in. You can find out what hardiness zone you live in here.

Most perennial plants in my region seem to die over winter as their foliage turns brown and dies off, but come Spring they awaken with new growth to fill their space again.

The reason I like perennials so much is because they come back every year in the same place, except for a few that drop seed, so you don't have to plant every year to have beautiful color.

When Hubby and I moved into our home, we cleaned out a bunch of old bushes around the front that were hiding the house and the front porch and laid landscape timbers all the way around the house. That's right, I said all the way around!! We have a few problematic areas that need work right now, one that is overgrown with grass and another that is shaded with little moisture, but other than that we love our landscape. We have the typical shrubs and bushes, but in between we have perennials tucked here and there to bring color throughout the season.

A few weeks ago my Weeping Cherry Tree and Bleeding Hearts were blooming, as it faded some Columbine flowers and Rock Cress began to bloom, they are now fading and some early Lilies are starting to bloom. Continually changing colors! You don't get that with annuals as they stay the same most of the season.

Buying perennials for me has been fun! I like the challenge in finding a bargain in everything I do, and purchasing perennials is no different. I often have an idea in my head of some plants that I'd like to have and where I would put them so if I come across a great sale, or happen upon a great clearance find, I know what to get.

When you buy perennials, just like annuals, you need to know the conditions of the environment where you will be planting them. How much sun/shade they will get, how moist it will be and how much room they will have to grow. You don't often look too much at the size of annuals because they are often small and if you don't like them they probably won't be back the next year anyway depending on where you live. Perennials may look cute and small when you buy them, but be sure to look at their full size or you may be unhappily surprised in a few years.

Perennials are often a value themselves because you buy them once and they come back yearly, getting nicer with age usually. That doesn't mean we need to buy them at full price though!!!

The first and best place to get perennials is from friends and family... really! Most people that are into gardening are willing to give starts of plants to anyone who shows an interest in them. Not all plants can be started that way, but many perennials only need a small tuft of foliage and some roots to get them off to a good start. Then, in a few years you can walk around the yard and look at the beautiful plants you have and say, "That one came from Grandma Connie's, and that one from Mom's." Makes your yard special to you.

The next thing to do is watch for sales and clearance at your local stores. Sales are a great time to purchase perennials when you have an area to fill and just need to get it done. Clearance is great when you have a few small areas that need something and maybe you know what you're looking for, maybe you don't, but don't want to pay the retail prices.

I happened upon some clearance last week at my local Meijer on groundcover. They only had a couple of items clearanced, but one of them was a groundcover that I've always wanted a start of. For $.90 I got a flat of it with two plants that didn't look great, but the rest were in tip top shape. Reg. price was something like $9 or $10!

Anytime you visit a store with a gardening center always do a loop through the garden area. You never know when or where you might find that clearance item. Often times the larger stores, like my local Lowe's, have an area they set aside for clearance. Clearance perennials are a real find when you pay 10-25% of the reg. price and they come back next year!

When you find some clearanced plants you might be interested in, be sure to check them over well. They are not a bargain if they are in terrible shape, have insects or disease, and won't come back next year. Sometimes stores clearance plants because they're no longer blooming or, like my situation above, part of the flat has died and they can no longer sell it for full price. Sometimes plants look worse off than they are, they simply need water or to get out of the confines of the pot they're in. Check tags too to be sure they are really a perennial in your area as often times annuals get put on clearance too.

One thing about clearance perennials that is a drawback is that often you can't see what color the flowers will be, considering it's a flowering plant, and you have to rely on the tag to tell you. Tags can easily be switched by kids walking through the store, and sometimes just weren't right to start with. This is a chance you sometimes have to be willing to take when you buy on clearance.

Have fun in your garden!

Don't have one? Plant a few patio containers... anything for the chance to get your hands dirty and get to see the rewarding results :)

2 comments:

Abundant Living said...

Great post! We just bought a house, and we're so thankful for all of the perennials that had been planted. The best part is that you feel like it's Christmas...every time a new plant blossoms, it's a surprise....so I am all about the clearance shopping that you recommend. Thanks for the information! :)

Your Frugal Friend, Niki said...

Gosh we love our perennials too. Almost all of our flowers have been given to us by friends. I have gotten a lot of them from Freecycle and Craigslist too.

The greatets thing about them is that every year they are bigger, so you can split them and keep planting more and more each year.

:)

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