Article: Myth #1: Perennials Never Need To Be Replaced.: Oenethera pink primrose

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Image Myth #1: Perennials Never Need To Be Replaced.
By Charlie Street on October 1, 2010

There are several popular myths associated with perennial plants. One is that once purchased and planted all perennials will never have to be replaced. They will live for not just more than two years (more than a biennial), but actually for years and years. A second myth is that all perennials require little or no maintenance. Maintenance aside, some perennial species/cultivars just live longer than others.

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ImageHemophobic
Oct 1, 2010 9:49 AM CST
Name: Angie
North Carolina (zone 7)
Which is the bane of my existence in my Asheville garden. Had I known how invasive this thug is, I would never have planted it!!! Grumbling
I think that if ever a mortal heard the voice of God it would be in a garden at the cool of the day. ~F. Frankfort Moore, A Garden of Peace

SunnyBorders
Oct 1, 2010 6:54 PM CST
Name: Charlie
Aurora, Ontario, Canada
Zone 5a
Interested to hear, Angie.

Example of a perennial being invasive in one region (unfortunately in yours), but not in another. I've not grown it, but apparently our winters keep it in check so it's garden behaviour is much better here.

We just have other thugs!
ImageHemophobic
Oct 1, 2010 8:44 PM CST
Name: Angie
North Carolina (zone 7)
Ah, well, Charlie, thugs are indiscrimating, aren't they? Whistling
I think that if ever a mortal heard the voice of God it would be in a garden at the cool of the day. ~F. Frankfort Moore, A Garden of Peace

Imagegardenersdetective
Oct 4, 2010 10:00 PM CST
Name: Susan
Zone 5
Charley's Girl Too/ HeHaw, HeHaw
Charlie I love your article. You pass on an extremely valuable lesson. When I first started gardening it was difficult to get that type of great information like what you provide in your article. I spent way too much time trying to figure out what I did wrong. Then I began comparing notes with other perennial gardeners. I thought perennials lived forever and I should stop buying from certain nurseries cause the perennials died after 3 or 4 years.Turns out they were great nurseries and the perennials were just short lived varieties. When I was a new gardener there was so much to learn. I seemed to concentrate my efforts on learning botanical names, researching a succession of bloom periods, and creating a beautiful four seasons garden. Once I achieved this, many of my original plantings no longer existed.

Angie you made me lol. Oenothera pink primrose was on of my first perennials. It is a thug in my garden as well and I pull it out every spring. This year my DH said 'ya know I really miss that pretty pink flower you use to grow' Rolling on the floor laughing Rolling on the floor laughing Rolling on the floor laughing Rolling on the floor laughing
SunnyBorders
Oct 5, 2010 9:28 AM CST
Name: Charlie
Aurora, Ontario, Canada
Zone 5a
Susan, over time, my experience in perennial gardens has been much as yours. I too have tended to come into things from the book end and not ongoing hands-on experience. It's kind of learning a new kind of learning. Checking it out for yourself!

Thanks Susan.
ImageHemophobic
Oct 5, 2010 10:58 AM CST
Name: Angie
North Carolina (zone 7)
Susan: I have learned to read descriptions of plants' reseeding characteristics very carefully: "reseeds freely" sends me running in terror Rolling on the floor laughing unless it's something I want everywhere!

Charlie, I'm enjoying your series of perennial gardening tips and traps. Thank you for sharing these with us.

Angie
I think that if ever a mortal heard the voice of God it would be in a garden at the cool of the day. ~F. Frankfort Moore, A Garden of Peace

SunnyBorders
Oct 5, 2010 4:40 PM CST
Name: Charlie
Aurora, Ontario, Canada
Zone 5a
Thanks Angie.

We all fear bad seeders and runners, but then we're smarter than them. We just don't plant them. Of course, when they appear uninvited, it can be a bit tougher!
ImageHemophobic
Oct 6, 2010 2:23 PM CST
Name: Angie
North Carolina (zone 7)
I agree those birds simply have no discrimination whatsoever!
I think that if ever a mortal heard the voice of God it would be in a garden at the cool of the day. ~F. Frankfort Moore, A Garden of Peace

SunnyBorders
Oct 7, 2010 8:29 AM CST
Name: Charlie
Aurora, Ontario, Canada
Zone 5a
Thanks for comment, Angie,

I agree on supporting wild life. Not so happy about neighbours cats.

We provision seed-eating birds in late fall to spring (live on a major bird migration route). But we use the mixed (quality!) (shelled?) seeds that don't germinate if not eaten. Squirrels and a few doves seem to be the main beneficiaries in the dead of winter.
woodspirit
Oct 9, 2010 6:51 PM CST
Hemophobic, which plant are you talking about that is invasive in Asheville? I am in Lake Toxaway.
Later ......never mind. I just saw the title of this thread. I like that plant and wonder what it would do 1,000 feet higher than Asheville.
[Last edited Oct 9, 2010 6:54 PM CST]
Quote | Post #438576 (10)
SunnyBorders
Oct 10, 2010 1:07 PM CST
Name: Charlie
Aurora, Ontario, Canada
Zone 5a
Interesting about variables affecting invasiveness, Woodspirit.

Hope you don't mind me suggesting, Angie (Hemophobic), but zizaniophobic (zizanion: a Greek word for 'weed') might describe some of us.

It's so frustrating to discover that a plant which is well behaved in one location can be fearfully invasive (seeding or running) in another.
ImageHemophobic
Oct 11, 2010 11:00 AM CST
Name: Angie
North Carolina (zone 7)
I don't mind at all, in fact, I welcome all the input. It's most interesting that this has almost choked my entire garden in Asheville, but this weekend while I was there, I think I finally got a good grip on eradicating it. Pulled all of it out (and there was lots of it back again, despite having been pulled out by large trash bins full several times this summer) and sprayed it with Round-Up. Aaaarrrrgggghhh! Maybe Lake Toxaway is high enough that it won't eat your garden area!

Angie
I think that if ever a mortal heard the voice of God it would be in a garden at the cool of the day. ~F. Frankfort Moore, A Garden of Peace

SunnyBorders
Oct 12, 2010 9:15 AM CST
Name: Charlie
Aurora, Ontario, Canada
Zone 5a
One has to be a perennial gardener to truly sympathize, Angie!



cat64129
Oct 15, 2010 9:25 AM CST
Name: Cathy
MO
I was thinking of ordering some of this to try to get something going as a groundcover on a steep slope below our future building site. Not a good idea?
SunnyBorders
Oct 15, 2010 3:30 PM CST
Name: Charlie
Aurora, Ontario, Canada
Zone 5a
Don't know, Cathy, though I'd be very careful reading what Angie and Susan said.

It sounds like the plant needs cold (and long?) winters to keep it in check.

I have planted perennials before to watch what would happen before acting. Seems that even the invasives typically take a year or two to really get established. Some of the Campanulas come to mind. If you did try it, it would be a good idea to watch it carefully over a couple of years. If it seems to be spreading too vigorous, eliminate it while there is still time.

I've also found that walls, paths and areas of poor and compacted soil can be good at stopping or slowing the spread of invasives. If you are quite sure that the plant can not spread from the area you talk about, maybe it's OK to use.
cat64129
Oct 17, 2010 6:28 PM CST
Name: Cathy
MO
Thanks Charlie. It'd be on a steep slope. I'm trying to plant something there so we won't have to risk life and limb mowing it! :-) The top of the hill will be mowed regularly and so will the bottom. I'll read up a little more on it. Won't be doing it until spring anyway.
ImageHemophobic
Oct 18, 2010 2:29 PM CST
Name: Angie
North Carolina (zone 7)
Cathy:

If you're going to mow around it and it won't be anywhere near a garden bed that it can get into, you might be safe, but I'd keep an eye on it. It only took one season for me to realize I'd made a huge mistake planting it! I've regretted it ever since.

Angie
I think that if ever a mortal heard the voice of God it would be in a garden at the cool of the day. ~F. Frankfort Moore, A Garden of Peace

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