Perennials on sale

One of the activities planned for Memorial Day was a trip to The Vagary’s twice-a-summer plant sale. Mary, who we visited over the holiday weekend, said it was a must-do, with plants available for $1.25 apiece.

Steve and I had recently added marigolds to the garden, so we thought the plant sale might be a good place to get some other helpful flowers, although, truth be told, we had no idea what those might be. We figured Mary or her friend Linda, who was also attending the plant sale, or maybe even one of the helpful Vagary staff folks could illuminate the subject for us.

Also, we thought some flowers might serve as a decent border. We hear gardeners like borders, and neatness, and organization, and our little plot of earth is scattered and a tad bit asymmetrical.

I asked Mary what she thought might be good plants to locate around the vegetables, and she wasn’t sure. She thought for a minute, then said, “But you know, the plants at the sale are really going to be perennials.”

Perennials. That means something that must be kept alive for years. I’ve read the other blogs; I know there’s dividing and placement and shade and sun and all kinds of rules to keep in mind. Annuals, with their brief life span and cheaper price, seem so much less of a commitment. I am, after all, the person who wanted to rely on pots.

“They’ll also have herbs,” Mary said. “Lots of herbs.”

Steve stayed behind at Mary and Doug’s house while we struck out toward The Vagary, but just before we walked out the door, he said, “Remember, Genie, perennials. Not annuals. Perennials. We’re renters.”

“Herbs,” I said. “I was already planning to get basil and parsley, remember?”

He nodded.

“By the way,” I said. “Can I borrow $20?”

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7 Responses to “Perennials on sale”


  1. 1 steven June 6, 2006 at 9:57 am

    I’ve bought a couple perennials in my day, but the bulk of them are gifts from friends, neighbors and relatives. And bygifts I mean “I have some hostas you can have if you come over and dig them up.”

    I’m not complaining though, one of my neighbors decided their hostas were getting out of control along the house and let me dig half of them out. I figured I got about $500 worth of plants for about 45 minutes work.

  2. 2 Calendula & Concrete June 6, 2006 at 8:27 pm

    Calendula flowers are also supposed to be beneficial for warding off bugs, although I always plant mine in the flower bed rather than with the vegetables. The other nice thing about calendula is that it’s super-easy to grow!

  3. 3 inadvertentgardener June 6, 2006 at 9:09 pm

    Steven, sounds like a veritable bargain!

    Christa, good info on calendula — we might not have room for it this season, but maybe next year — thanks for the tip!

    :-) Genie

  4. 4 Corina June 9, 2006 at 9:14 am

    You can plant basil near your tomato plants. Watch out for oregano–it can seriously take over (it’s a perennial). Great for drying, though. Try to keep the minty (parsley) and oniony (chivey) plants away from the tomatos, though. If you ever DID get a pot, they are good pot herbs (dude, that sounded wrong)…

  5. 5 inadvertentgardener June 9, 2006 at 6:08 pm

    Corina,

    Oops…the chives are pretty close to the tomatoes, as are the leeks. Well, we’ll see how it goes. They’re not super-super close, but then again, in our little plot, all things are relative.

    I am glad to have some pot-based plants (I see your “sounded so wrong” and raise you a double entendre), just because they’re easy to manage and weed and all that. Plus, there’s no way we could fit anything else in the plot. Everything else goes in the (pardon me…) pot plot.

    :-) Genie

  6. 6 Trey August 9, 2006 at 9:15 am

    Genie,

    How I ended up here I don’t know. You do a good job of leading us through your blog.

    I wanted say that I had never heard a description of perennials as “That means something that must be kept alive for years. I’ve read the other blogs; I know there’s dividing and placement and shade and sun and all kinds of rules to keep in mind. Annuals, with their brief life span and cheaper price, seem so much less of a commitment…”

    I am always hearing “I want perennials, that way I don’t have to plant them every year”, or something like that. You are the first person I have “heard” with the explanation on why annuals could be a better choice for some.

    This kind of stuff is very valuable to us “plant traffickers”. Thanks

  7. 7 inadvertentgardener August 9, 2006 at 6:09 pm

    Trey, you’re welcome! Happy to provide some novice perspective. I definitely feel more trepidation about long-term plant commitment than short term…


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