Tuesday, July 3, 2012
Short Lived Perennials
This is an old photo from two years ago of a flower bed in the backyard perennial garden in SJC. See those pretty lavender pincushion type (scabiosa) flowers in the background? They are gone this year, as are the ones in other beds. I happen to love scabiosa. I love the way the sweet little flower heads are held up high at the end of a tall stem, allowing them to sway with charm at the least little breeze. I love the fact that the flat flower head creates a perfect landing base for friendly insects of all kinds, especially butterflies, and that they are rarely ever bothered by any destructive insects or diseases. I like that they come in white and dark purple and every color in between. I plant a lot of them in my perennial beds so you can imagine my confusion when I was at the nursery the other day and saw some which triggered me to think that I hadn't seen any in the gardens at home this year! I went home and did a search and sure enough they were all gone. This is the way with short-lived perennials. Typically short-lived perennials one live a few years, but keep themselves growing by self-seeding. However, if you are diligent about keeping your flower beds full and mulched to discourage weeds, you can often also eliminate self-seeding and this is what happened to my precious scabiosa. It is too late in the season to plant them now, but they are on my list for fall, for sure.