My day flew by today. It’s already almost over and I’m thinking of all the stuff that I thought I could get done today. I didn’t do half of it. Mostly I took care of my toddler, along with a lunch date/shopping trip with my husband. The toddler is pretty high maintenance right now, but a joy too. Sometimes I have I think of what I could be doing if I wasn’t taking care of him all the time. So many things I want to do just don’t get done, nor will they for a long time. But mostly I love being a stay at home mom. There’s a slew of other things I wouldn’t have dived into if I hadn’t been home with him. Like this blog and my fledging hort business.

Right now I’ve working on lots of stuff for the above venture. One of which is making a plant list that is taking forever, mostly because I get distracted and start to read all the cool things about plants. I’m working on perennials right now. I got up to over 380 species, but have since consolidated some. There are so many different plants to plant out there! I wonder why people plant so much lawn when you could plant big borders of beautiful perennials instead. It’s been a really good project because I’ve increased my knowledge immensely. (I didn’t know 380 perennials before. Okay I still don’t know that many, but more than I did before I started.) It’s also nice to have a list I can copy/paste out of to make plant lists for clients. I will share when if I ever get done.

I’ve used two books for the plant list–Still’s manual (Manual of Herbaceous Ornamental Plants), and Graham Rice’s book (Encyclopedia of Perennials (American Horticultural Society). Both are good books and complement each other. I like Still’s better as a basic reference, but Graham’s is the better read. I get very distracted by all the wonderful pictures and fun facts. And so many cultivars are listed! That is one thing I do not think I will ever learn unless I go into the nursery business. What do you think about learning cultivars? For me, it’s best to learn general facts about the species and worry about specific cultivars when I am at a nursery about to buy a plant. No point in finding the perfect cultivar that no one sells!


2 thoughts on “Perennials

  1. allanbecker-gardenguru says:

    I learned about perennials by buying up as many as I could afford,in the smallest sizes available, because those were the cheapest, and just watched them grow. The cheapest and smallest are usually available at low end big box stores.
    Most importantly, I kept a heavy duty scrap book in which I taped all of the picture plant tags, alphabetically, for future reference and to help me identify what I planted. Depending on where you are located, a great number of plants listed in the encyclopedia may not be suitable for your climate, soil conditions or regional taste.
    In my case, the scrap book became my encyclopedia.

    About cultivars: These are usually bred to satisfy a market demand or to eliminate an inherent deficiency in the species. Some, but not all, cultivars are not as long lived as the species. Cultivars are important for those gardeners that are plant collectors. It is big business for nurseries. Collectors are always on the lookout for newer and different varieties. If you plan to run a nursery, you need new cultivars in order to keep gardeners coming back each season.


    • Liz says:

      I love buying small cheap perennials from big box stores. I hate how many garden centers only sell gallon or larger perennials when a good four or six inch perennial will be just as big in a year and have less transplant shock.
      I based my current plant list off of plants that I’ve either grown, worked with or seen around, and several plant lists from public gardens in the area. Definitely not all the plants listed in a book a grow in the area. The biggest issue here is alkalinity: I don’t know a lot of popular plants because they won’t stand the high pH of our soil.


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