Posted by: The Arcadian | March 18, 2011

Perennial Favorites and Bad Dogs

Perennial Favorites and Bad Dogs
I was just writing about spring and how I love to watch things grow … and it’s even cooler to see perennials emerging from their winter slumber. 
 
Half the time I forget I’ve planted them, then I will start to see this little bit of green peeking out.  After an investigation, I realize it’s not a weed, but a perennial. 

This is a lilly -- not sure which kind yet.

Love perennials … they are more expensive than annuals, but if you select the right varieties for your area, you will be able to enjoy them year after year. 

I personally try to have a good mix of perennials and annuals.  One of my most favorite annuals of all time is the pansy. 

Happy Pansy Face

Look at this pretty, happy pansy face!  Fortunately where I live, I can plant pansies in the fall and they will usually overwinter then grow all spring until the end of April.  Then I rip them out and replace them with something more heat tolerant.

 This is Mexican sage, a hearty perennial.

Mexican Sage waking up from a long winter's Siesta

Sometimes I find this in the garden… bad dog … if you can’t tell by the photo,  my dog Ruby, dug in the flower bed and dislodged this beautiful specimen of Mexican Sage. 

Bad dogs dig in the flower beds

I love Mexican sage for my particular area, because it’s hardy and blooms continuously, it can withstand the hot Texas sun and summer, and requires very little watering.

Mexican sage in full bloom -- pretty!

This is a variegated sedum, another hearty perennial that can grow just about anywhere in the U.S.

Variegated sedum, aka striped sedum

Verigated sedum in its full bloom, in the late summer or early fall.

 What’s the difference?

Annuals complete their lifecycle in one growing season, meaning that an annual plant can grow from seed to maturation (seed reproduction) in one season—snap dragons, petunias and pansies. Generally most garden vegetables are annuals.

Perennials have an ongoing lifecycle, meaning they come back every year after a period of dormancy. Trees and shrubs are good examples, but other flowers are salvia, daisies, sedums and chrysanthemums. Some perennials are grown as annuals in northern climates because they are not cold-hardy.  A good example of this is dusty miller. It’s a perennial where I live, but in Kansas and north, it’s not hardy enough to overwinter.     

BTW … for those of you North Texas gardeners out there, we are coming up on our last average killing-frost dates this week and next.  For more info contact your local Texas county extension agent– they know all the scoop for your county’s growing particulars. (PS– if you live in a different state they have extension offices too).

The bad dog ... Looking very pretty on a spring day at the "Goat Ranch." (there aren't any goats, btw).

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