Making pals with perennials
Perennials are perfectly attuned to the low-impact, low-maintenance philosophy of sustainable landscaping, making them the perfect companions to your garden. Consider some of the benefits that perennials bring:
- They're among the easiest flowering plants to maintain, requiring only occasional deadheading (removing the dead flowers) and an annual hard pruning at the end of the season. (See Chapter 20 for details on caring for perennials.)
- A well-chosen perennial requires little supplemental watering or fertilization and resists attacks by pests and diseases.
- If given adequate space to grow, perennials don't need to be pruned to control their size.
Perennials also are revered for their colorful flowers, which are attractive to the following groups:
- Birds: Many birds depend on perennial plants for food, shelter, and nesting materials. For example, red flowers, especially tubular ones, provide nourishment for hummingbirds.
- Bees and beneficial insects: Many flowering plants attract bees, an insect that's having a difficult time these days due to diseases and loss of habitat. Many perennials, such as goldenrod, lamb's ear, and Shasta daisy, provide habitat for beneficial insects that reciprocate by helping to keep your garden free of pests.
- Animals: Rabbits, deer, and other mammals feed on perennials. As long as this doesn't result in destruction of your plantings, it can help return wildlife to communities. You can even get your property certified as a wildlife habitat; visit www.nwf.org/backyard for information.
- Humans: Culinary herbs, such as thyme, oregano, and mint, are easy to grow and are long-lived. Other perennials offer food — and you have choices beyond the usual asparagus, rhubarb, and artichokes. For example, primroses, daylilies, and hyssop all have edible parts. Perennial plants have medicinal uses, too. Consider the easy-to-grow Aloe vera, lemon balm, lavender, and feverfew. Visit www.altnature. com for more on medicinal perennial plants.
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How would you like to save a ton of money and increase the value of your home by as much as thirty percent! If your homes landscape is designed properly it will be a source of enjoyment for your entire family, it will enhance your community and add to the resale value of your property. Landscape design involves much more than placing trees, shrubs and other plants on the property. It is an art which deals with conscious arrangement or organization of outdoor space for human satisfaction and enjoyment.
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