Here in upstate New York, we normally start planting our annual plants around Memorial Day (5/25/09) because by then your garden will be safe from the danger of frost. This does not necessarily mean though that we can't start working on our gardens before that. So for the past 3 weekends I've been busy raking, pruning and uncovering my perennial plants. Below is a Fall pic of my Butterfly Bush. I let it go like this then prune it to about 1-2 ft. in early Spring. I know I took a picture last summer of how big and tall it became by summertime but I can't find the pic in my photo folder.
This is what it looks like after I pruned it (corner of the garden bed.) I did the same thing with my roses, except roses are pruned moderately.
The garden above (taken last year) looks like this by early Summer. A spectacular display! When I have more time, I really would like to design my garden. I bet it is so relaxing to have a rock garden or similar with benches and a water fountain; a place to read a good book, to dream, take a nap or just to sit and relax with friends.
For those of you who are not into gardening but interested to know, annuals/biennials are plants that only live one/two years. Gardeners love to intermingle them with perennials because they bloom all summer and are often long-lasting if you want a bouquet.
Perennials on the other hand, are the mainstay of the garden. They come back year after year but only bloom once each year. Some of them, though, will reward you with colorful foliage in the Fall or after it blooms.
Here's my patch of peonies. It is hard to see but I had raked three rows of the dead leaves and four more to go, including the Iris patch! Leaving the dead foliage in the winter is a matter of preference for gardeners. I leave mine for plant protection and also to help improve the soil. There are nutrients in fallen leaves.
A close-up of the peonies starting to appear.
A picture of the peonies and Iris by early summmer; aren't they a joy to look at? (again, photo was taken last year)
Here is one of my peonies. We have white, pink, very light pink and maroon colors. One thing I like about peonies, they are low maintenance once they are established. They have sweet, fragrant flowers and are excellent as cut flowers because of their long vase-life of a week to 10 days.
...more of last year's peonies.
Did you know that one of the first signs of the coming of a new season in my area are the delicate, white blossoms of a plant called Common Snowdrop? Here's a picture of the plant and they come back year after year with no care at all.
Last weekend, I started planting my Dahlias. They are annuals, but because they are buried underground, they should be safe from frost. Planting them early will give them a head start. So by early summer, I should be rewarded with beautiful blooms! Dahlias can not stand freezing temps, so they need to be dug up before winter, and I store mine in our basement. Pictured below is one of my Dahlias last year.
...more of last's year Dahlias.
I don't claim to be an expert gardener but still wants to share what little I know just the same. ;) I welcome any tips, suggestions, and comments from you though, so if you have any, shoot it my way! lol