Q. Are you beginning to plan your flower garden for next year?  Very soon the garden shows will be starting and you will be eager to start planting.  What is your preference perennials or annuals?

A. Annuals or perennials, which do you prefer?  In the past 5 years gardeners have added more perennials to their gardens with perennial sales increasing year after year.  Possible reasons for the rebirth of the perennial could be the large selection of plant varieties, ease of plant care, and the ability to create an ever-changing garden.  On the other hand, annuals offer a blanket of color that lasts throughout most of the growing season.  There are many popular annuals that have an amazing array of color to choose from.   Once planted, all that is usually needed is water and fertilizer.

If I were to list all the varieties of perennials it would fill this page, and new plant hybrids are introduced every year.  The new introductions may feature a new color shade, a color variegation of the leaf or a variety that grows differently than the original plant.    It is fun to bring home a previously unfamiliar variety of perennial to watch it grow and blossom in your yard.  You will learn about the new plants as they grow throughout the season.  Even if the spot you choose to plant it in is not the best choice, the perennial can be moved to a new location for the following season.  As you receive seed catalogs or browse through gardening magazines, you can choose which varieties of perennials you want to try in your garden.

Most perennials will flower for 2 to 4 months each season.  Before or after the flowering time you will only have a leafy plant.  Some perennials have colored leaves that add interest to the garden.   Most perennial gardens will have a variety of plants throughout the landscape so that anytime of year there is interest in the garden.  Mixing varieties that compliment each other also adds to the spectacular flower show of perennials.  Leaf texture should also be considered when combining different varieties in a planting bed.  Grass plants, for example, stand out proud during the winter months above a blanket of snow.

Don’t be afraid to mix perennials and annuals in your garden.  Decide this winter which new plant varieties you would like to try next year.  Whether you buy small plants from catalogs or larger established plants from the garden center, you will be pleased with the added interest your garden will have.

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