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More Than Once

Garden Reports and Rejoicing – September 20

Last Saturday when more than 400 people toured my gardens, I heard this comment several times. “Oh…it’s an annual.” The last word was said with a downturn of the voice implying extreme disappointment.

Now, I love my perennials, and frequently champion my favorite varieties. Shrubs and trees aside, my gardens are planted with about 60% perennials and 40% annuals. I would not want to be without that 40%, however. I think that gardens absolutely benefit from both.

Some object to annuals because they have to spend money for them every year. Others don’t like the effort it takes to place them in the ground each season. O-Kaaayyyy…but let’s look at these viewpoints honestly.

In terms of the expense, let’s compare the cost of annuals to a couple of restaurant meals. How much do you normally spend when you eat out? I’d say that most couples can spend between forty and eighty dollars easily, depending on where they eat and if they order drinks before and with their meal.

You can buy a lot of annuals for forty to eighty dollars, and they last far longer than that two to three hour restaurant meal. For the price of a couple of meals out, you can have flowers from June through September or beyond.

Yes, we have to plant annuals every year…but if you want a beautiful garden you’ll be doing something in the landscape every season without fail. Perennials need weeding, dividing, mulching and other care. Shrubs and trees the same, not to mention pruning. Spring and fall cleanup is necessary in all gardens no matter what is planted. All gardens take work…so what’s your problem with annuals?

Like much of life, it’s all a matter of perspective.

For the price of a few cups of coffee to go you can have this spectacular Vertigo fountain grass from Proven Winners, and enjoy it for three or four months! How many cups of coffee last that long?

Two or three packets of zinnia seeds from Renee's Seeds cost less than $12. and takes less than an hour to plant. We've spent another five or six hours weeding this cutting garden and watering it over the past summer, and have been rewarded with dozens of bouquets for us and our friends.

Dahlias only need to be purchased once - we save the tubers from year to year and share the overflow with others. Yes, we spend a half a day planting and another day digging them up and wrapping them for the winter. Most people spend more time watching television in one week than we spend on dahlia care, but I'm willing to guess that these colorful flowers provide more joy and grace than what is on TV.

One Response to “More Than Once”

  1. 1
    Joyce:

    Great point about “splurging” on annuals, C.L.!

    I have repeatedly requested from my family….No birthday jewelry or fine dining, please. Give me nursery gift certificate so I can be ‘a kid in a candy store’!”

    Loved your Wasabi (sp?) coleus and many other fine annuals on your garden tour last week. I’ll be on a quest for those next spring!