Planning Long Term Strategy for Your Perennial Garden

So many great perennials, so much variety is available that one of the great joys — and challenges — of growing them is combining different kinds of perennials in plantings. But because different perennials bloom at different times, and because of the relatively slow growth of perennials (compared to annuals), perennial gardening usually involves some advance planning so you can get the most bang for your buck and get the exciting look you want, when you want it.

Don't be intimidated. If you're displeased with a result, you're still in better shape than a painter. Instead of throwing out the canvas, you can simply pull out or move a plant and even replace it with something else until the result looks great. And while you're waiting for perennials to take hold, you can fill in the bare spots with some annuals (see Chapter 6) or bulbs (Chapter 8).

That said, perennial gardening doesn't have to be a hit-or-miss operation. You can gather information from others, using their knowledge and ideas. Copy or approximate what you like, or borrow a good idea as a jumpingoff point. Inspiration is all around you — in books, gardening magazines, and other gardens, both public and private. Above all, have fun! Perennial gardening is a very enjoyable hobby, with a broad and forgiving learning curve.

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