Perennial healing

As a novice gardener, I'm learning what a difference there is between annual and perennial flowers. Annuals are one-season-only beauties—like marigolds, sunflowers, angel's trumpets, morning glories, and snapdragons. Perennials, on the other hand, come up for years on end—even after the most brutal cold spells. These perennials include dahlias, roses, delphiniums, foxgloves. And, of course, lilies. All shapes and sizes and colors of lilies—red, orange, magenta, white, yellow, blue, violet, pink, purple, and multicolored. Heavenly scented, lovely lilies.

A lot of gardening books tell you to plant all your annuals in one bed and your perennials in another one. Maybe that's so inexperienced gardeners like me won't dig up the dead-looking perennials at the end of the season—and throw them away along with the annuals.

And if you did throw away the perennials, you'd miss the whole show! In colder climates, you'd miss the high drama of seeing new, green sentinels of life rise out of the snow-covered earth at the start of each year's growing season. You'd miss knowing that the plants you tenderly watered and weeded all last year have survived months of frigid, underground dormancy. And they've come up fuller and more beautiful than ever!

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October 6, 1997

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