How Does Your Garden Grow?

by Josée

Most gardening books have a chapter, or at least a page, about gardening styles. The cottage garden, the formal garden, the zen garden…. I like something about each style so I have a difficult time committing to one. I would consider myself to be an eclectic gardener.

Perennials are my plants of choice. Here in the North the growing season is short. It’s three to four months at best, unless you have access to a green house or lovely Southern window (both of which I don’t have). Annual flowers are pretty but I find it hard to justify buying them when they won’t be around for long. Now perennials come back every year, often bigger and better as the years progress. After a while they can get too big or too old and need to be divided or removed, but that keeps things interesting. A done garden is a dead garden after all.
Lady’s Mantle – Alchemilla mollis

The trick to growing a lovely perennial garden is to know a few perennials gardeners. I worked on a perennial farm during a summer off university. Almost every other day I returned home with perennials for my mom’s garden. Now when I visit my mom we take regular walks around her gardens. She shows me what she’s planted, what she’s removed and offers me a piece of this or that perennial. Trust me, if you make friends with a perennial gardener and it won’t be long until you become one yourself.

Johnny Jump Up – Viola tricolor

Vegetable gardening is something completely different. I treated my first vegetable garden like I did my perennial garden. But instead of my veggies growing healthy and vivacious like my perennials, they bolted, shriveled, got infested, grew limp, went to seed and died. I think I did something wrong. Maybe some regular watering and a little fertilizer would have helped. This year I’m sticking to herbs and leafy things like lettuce, arugula, sorrel, swiss card and kale.

Leopord’s Bane – Doronicum

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