Successful perennial flower gardening for beginners comes down to two main points. Proper site planning and proper plant selection of plants that do well in your area. After you get these basics right, you can then start to learn more about pruning, dead-heading, pinching, fertilizing and all the other activities that go on during the year in a perennial garden. But, I am getting ahead of myself. Let’s start with the basics I first planning and plant selection.
The very first step in planning your perennial garden is to decide how much time you want to spend maintaining it. Perennials, by there very nature, require some maintenance from time to time. So, decide whether you want to spend 30 minutes or 30 hours a month working in your garden before you go any further.
If you don’t want to spend much time maintaining your garden, stay away from plants that have to be pruned and sprayed a lot such as roses. But, on the other hand, if roses are a “must have” for you, check-out the variety called Knock-out rose which requires less spraying. Talking with those who work at your local garden center about high-maintenance and low-maintenance perennials is helpful at this planning stage.
You will also need to look at site conditions such as the amount of sun or shade your future site has, what type of soil it has, whether the site gets a lot of wind, if it’s next to any buildings or structures, and even if there is competition from tree roots. Keeping these things in mind now will save you time and money in the future.
The next step in perennial flower gardening for beginners is plant selection. Once again the garden center in your area will be able to help you. It’s their job to purchase plants that have been proven to be successful in your area. Check to see if the garden center near you is having any up coming seminars on growing perennials. Also, botanical gardens sometimes have days when a plant expert will walk around the garden and talk about specific plants groups like perennial grasses or herbs. If they don’t, it is still helpful to walk around and take notes on what they have growing. If you see color or plant combinations that you really like, try to use these same plant combinations in your garden.
Also check with your local extension service to see what they have to offer in the way of Master Gardening classes or information sheets in the office and online. They too know what grows well in your area and how to treat it for pests and disease later on.
Perennial flower gardening for beginners is a fun and exciting time as long as you take some time for planing in the beginning. There’s no greater joy than planting a seed or a recent “special find” from a garden center or catalog and watching it grow into a beautiful specimen that adds beauty to your garden.