They have been cultivated for centuries and often, as a result of breeding and crossbreeding, bear no resemblance to their wild forebears. In some of the perennials, the blossoms have become so specialized through centuries of cultivation that they no longer grow ‘seeds.
Other perennials are continually being developed by amateur botanists and gardeners. As a result of this cultivation and inbreeding, perennials as a rule are not as hardy as other varieties. Another disadvantage is the tendency of certain perennials to die down after flowering, thereby leaving gaps in the garden.
There are a number of ways to solve the problems of short-flowering periods and the resultant unsightly spaces. One way is to intersperse them by planting bulbs and perennials along with annuals and flowering plants whose bloom occurs either later or earlier than that of the perennials.
Some perennials are easy to transplant: chrysanthemums, for example, can be moved from one place to another with no noticeable effect on their vigor. This is another way to keep color and bloom throughout the growing season.
A garden of perennials, either by themselves or mixed with annuals and other bulbs, should be placed along a path, or as a border, with a background of trees, shrubs, a wall or fence. The background shows the brilliant coloring to best advantage. Some varieties can flourish in the shade, such as anemone, lily of the valley, day lilies, sweet pea, primrose, hollyhock, harebell and peonies, but these flowers must be chosen carefully and faced so that some sun reaches them every day.
Popular orange flower perennials include
– Butterfly Weed
– Golden Glow
– Olympic Poppy
and popular white and purple flower perennials include
– Alpine Rock Cress
– Baby’s Breath
– Canyon Poppy
– Shasta Daisy
– Dragon’s Head
– Foxglove Penstemon
– Joe-Pye Weed
Bulbs, tubers and corms
Bulbs are the fleshy underground protuberances of leaves, stems or roots. Actually, “bulb” is a generic term, and some of these underground protuberances, all of which will grow into full plants, are more correctly called “corms” or “tubers.” Tubers are thickened stem sections, covered with modified buds; corms are also underground stem sections, but without the bud.
Some of the loveliest flowers are bulbs, and gardeners rely on them heavily because they bloom in such profusion with little care or cultivation. They are among the first blooms of early spring, with the diminutive snowdrop, for example, appearing in early March.
Here is the answer to; where can I find information about planting bulbs? Bulbs should be planted from 3 to 6 inches deep, and, as a rule of thumb, the larger the bulb, the deeper it should be planted. (Both tubers and corms are treated similar to bulbs.) Using a spade, a slice is dug in the soil to the required depth, the bulbs placed in the hole and the sod replaced. If the soil is poor, a sprinkling of bone meal is added and mixed with the soil at the bottom of the hole.
Each spring, flowering bulbs should be well-fertilized. (Use manure and chemical fertilizer.) Care must be taken to keep fresh manure away from the roots or the bulb or tuber itself. The fertilizer should be worked well into the soil. The soil itself should be cultivated to a depth of 3 to 4 inches each week.
During the blooming season, it is a good idea to cut off most of the buds to get bigger and showier flowers. Watering regularly is essential, and when the soil gets too dry, punching a few holes in it around the plant will help get the much-needed moisture down near the roots.