June is Perennial Garden Month
Perennial gardens deliver cheerful rainbows of flowers that require little upkeep, come back each year, and turn boring gardens into stunning masterpieces. The horticultural industry celebrates Perennial Garden Month in June. In the Southwest, June is also our last opportunity to plant flowers until temperatures drop again in the fall. On the plus side, most nurseries still have a good selection of perennial flowers and many will be in bloom.
In spring, most garden centers bring in trays filled with green perennials along with the brilliantly blooming annuals. Since perennials often bloom later in the season, they are overlooked in the spring rush. Most of the blooming plants sold in many of the chain stores are annuals — great color, but a short life.
Plus, each year the gardener starts the garden again from scratch. Perennials are plants that continue growing from the same rooted clump for several years. Perennials include ornamental grasses, ground- hugging flowers, tall fence- lining blooms, and aromatic herbs. Best of all, perennials
save the effort and expense of replanting each spring. I prefer perennials because, in the long run, they are less work to maintain. Initially, like any plant, they require regular irrigation and fertilizer. As they increase their size and roots, they become drought tolerant and provide more bloom. I especially like perennials that bloom for months.
Buy three of each plant in any size container, though the smallest container is most cost effective and will settle in more quickly. Plant them with pacing for their mature size on the east side of a west wall or under the filtered shade of a desert willow or vitex tree. For the first summer, water every couple of days. Once established, you have a rainbow of flowers from February through November that return and expand year after year — so you can spend your time enjoying the bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds they attract.
Written by Jackye Meinecke