March 27, 2020
At home

In the garden: Plant some perennials

Autumn's warm, blue-sky days are just perfect for getting out into the garden, so why not plant some perennials that will reward you year after year.

Perennial plants remain in the ground year after year. Once established, most perennials need minimal upkeep in the form of watering and fertilising, since their roots are deeper than those of annual plants. Many perennials spread readily, filling out garden spaces and providing more and more colour each year.

Here are a few steps to help you get going:

Lambs’ ears (stachys) make a textural garden border

Choose the right garden site: If you are creating a new bed, try to choose a site that gets partial to full sun. Although there are perennials that will withstand deep shade, you’ll have a much larger selection of plants to choose from if the site receives some sun.

Choose the right plants: Evaluate your site, noting sun exposure and soil type, and choose plants based on these assessments. Make sure the plants you want are suitable for your soil and climate.

Phlox add a burst of vibrant colour

Prepare the soil: Since your perennials will be occupying the same space for years, it’s important to prepare the soil. Most perennials like a moderately rich, loose, loamy soil, with plenty of organic matter.

Plant properly: Follow the planting instructions that come with your new plants. Water them in well after planting. Water weekly with a solution of Seasol to settle the plants into their new surroundings

Provide some extra TLC the first season: It’s generally a good idea to mulch garden beds after planting with a thick layer of organic mulch. However, don’t pile mulch right up against plants, keep it a few centimetres from the base of the plants.

Convolvulus creates a rambling, country garden aesthetic

Some suggestions for perennials to try:

artemisia (wormwood)
cerastuim (snow in summer)
Convolvulus mauritanicus
Bellis perennis (common daisy)
erigeron (fleabane)
Euphorbia wulfenni
gypsophila (baby’s breath)
stachys (lambs’ ear)

The list is endless. Good luck!

This story first appeared in the March 2020 issue of SALIFE magazine.

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