Do you follow trends? Well I have never really been one for following them but yesterday discovered that I am on trend, I recently read an article suggesting that gardening with perennials is one of the big trends for 2015, really? This is new? well then I am finally ahead of the mob because I had thought everyone had been gardening with perennials.
Our property was nothing but a sand/gravel pit when we took it on 7yrs ago so my gardens are still a work in progress. While we have planted fruit trees, put in garden beds, planted some hedging plants and shrubs here and there too I really have felt that I haven't made much progress so always feel a sense of shock when someone tells me how lovely my garden is looking. This is why I have started taking regular photos of it throughout the seasons.
As we have designed our garden and planted beds we have focused on several areas such as the longevity of plants, (their tolerance for dry sandy/gravelly areas) their ability to be spread easily therefor becoming weeds and of course their cost effectiveness too.
While I have read that there are advantages to gardening with plants that don't need replacing every year I have to admit that for me my biggest reason for gardening with perennials comes down to cost effectiveness.
Secondly yet still at the top would be water preservation as we rely entirely on rainwater. Because this would be the case we chose to erect two 123,000 litre rainwater tanks and a couple of others, a 9.500 litre as well as smaller 1,000 one too. One of the tanks is primarily for the house while the other has always been planned for garden use and the smaller ones are for animal use. Just the same quite a few of the perennials that I have planted so far are those that will perform & survive with low water usage along with utilizing wicking beds and this year hopefully vertical hydroponic planters as well but that is another tale.
I have to admit that I do not have as many natives as I should probably have because I am a sucker for certain plants and love a variety of colour all year round so plant those varieties that will provide this for me hence a mixture of ornamentals and natives. I do attempt to plant types of natives that provide food for insects and birds as well as providing help with pollinating and habitat for smaller animals or reptiles.
Costs? There are some cost savings to planting perennials, well some of them anyway as quite a few generally pop up through out your garden year in year out providing those little pops of colour and saving me some money at the nursery. Regardless of whether I have a list of not like the supermarket I always tend to leave with more than I had planned to buy or spend more than intended so less trips has to be better for my wallet.
I also read last week that two of the big trends in the gardening scene at the moment are planting perennial vegetables and healing herbs in amongst your other garden plants. The American magazine called Mother Earth has published quite a few articles on vegetables such as kale that come back year after year and are full of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals and others with health and healing benefits. Over the past year or so I have a folder full of recipes for health giving potions made from various herbs for the health of my family, my chickens, sheep as well as for cleaning and as a form of antibacterial preventive type solution too to rid the animals quarters of those pesky insects & mites naturally.
Perennials also provide free plants because of their ability to spread and reproduce. I have started digging up some of my perennial plants, am potting them up and selling them on to others at local craft & fundraising stalls in our community. A win win situation all round, yeah!
What type of gardening do you like to do?