Monday, January 9, 2017

10 Favorite Perennials of Mine

Who doesn’t love a Perennial? Set them out and watch them grow; but don’t forget their basic needs which provide them with what they require to become rooted and return the next year. A Perennial is a plant or flower which grows from year to year without having to be replanted. There are many types of these plants but my favorites stand out above the rest.

One of my most faithful summer companions is the Prickly Pair Cactus (Opentia ficusindica). This perennial has of course large spines which defend the cactus against curious animals and also provide shade for the plant. Most Cacti have very short growing seasons and long sleeping periods. This is because they have the ability to store massive amounts of water inside their thick skins.The ability to retain water, is one of the cactus’s most fascinating aspects. Another interesting fact about the Prickly pear is that when it cuttings are taken from the original ‘ear’ the peice can re-root after long periods of detachment. The cactus is easy to care for and a very resilient plant.

The Shamrock; a symbol of good luck in Ireland and in the United States as well, is a wonderfully bright green perennial. The Shamrock, when in full bloom has flowers covering the center top of the plant. The flowers are usually dainty pink which are a contrast to the bright green of the foliage–this is a pleasure to the eye. These beautiful plants prefer cool temperatures and may grow dormant if the temperature climbs too high. When the plant is not dormant, keep the soil moist for growing. And if you wish to spread the luck, propogation is very easily done by detaching a portion from the root upward.

Lavender (lavendula) is a lovely and very fragrant flowering plant. It is one of the most tempermental perennial you may strive to grow.It requires dry sunny rocky areas to thrive and produce the best blooms. If you are persistant enough; you will reap the benefits of this marvelous plant. Lavender is used to make incense, perfumes and other fragrant products as well as aides for sleeping and relaxation.
The dried leaves are often used for natural air fresheners and for meditation purposes. Even the color purple, which is the color of this perennial’s flower, is the color of comfort.

The perennial Rose comes in over 100 different species. There are shrubs, vines or simply the long stemmed versions. All roses are beautiful and varied in size and shape. The thorns of the rose bush were adapted to deter animals when foraging within the plants foliage, from damaging the bush. In caring for the Rose; it is very important to keep your roses pruned, deadheaded (dead blooms clipped) and watered on a daily basis. As long as these rules are observed and the plant is watered on a regular basis the blooms will flourish. Roses are known for there tender beauty and of course their fragrance. Rose hips; the fruit of of the plant, ripens in late summer to early fall. The French have developed a rose syrup, which is derived from the rose plant. IN turn, her in the United States, the rose syrup is used to make marshmellows.

The Angel Trumpet (Brugmansia); the deadly yet beautiful perennial, has enough toxin to possibly kill an animal or human. Most people who have owned these plants were never aware of that simple fact. These tall and leafy covered climbers have the most lovely white and yellow trumpet shaped blooms and they show their splender by opening in a wide bell shaped yawn. Such exotic perennials grow easily in moist fertile soil that drains excess water well. Their blooming begins late spring and continue on into the early winter.If care is taken to supply their needs, these beauties seem to come alive.

Oregano (Origanum vulgare);the culinary herb of choice for Italian cuisine, is a very hardy perennial. It is used in pasta sauces, on pizza and in other various recipes. This plant can be grown within a pot or directly in the soil. Oregano thrives in full sunlight and requires fairly moist soil but the herb does okay in fair to poor soil if need be. The scent of Oregano is an added bonus to the benefits of growing this culinary delight.

The Strawberry (fragaria x ananassa) plants are low growing perennials that produce cute white flowers and what some call ‘true fruits’. The true fruits of this plant are actually numerous seeds embedded within the enlarged stem end of the plant. This appears as the strawberry itself. Strawberries produce delicious fruit and will produce over and over from one plant if taken care of properly. The soil must be kept moist and the plant exposed to full sunlight. As well as being a favorite of mine; the strawberry plant, as muost know , is mass produced commercially as well.

Muscadines (vitis rotundifolia) thrive in summer heat and are very very hardy. Their large grape like fruits range in color
from dark red to black. The berries of the muscadine plant have been found to have cancer fighting qualities and are a source of good nutrition. The fruits have also been widely used to make wines and jellies as well as snacks to be eaten raw. In the Southern states; the muscadines are shaken from the trees onto a tarpoleon and collected to even make pies. They have actually become a southern treat.

The bright and beautiful daylily (hemerocallis hybrid) is also sometimes called the Tiger lily. This plant is my personal favorite of the favorites. They are extemely easy to grow and spread quickly. They are both heat and and drought resistant which attributes them to their hardy status. some of the plants have a lovely scent while others have no smell at all. Most people arent aware that the blooms of the daylily are used in Chinese cuisine. If you ever have a bowl of Hot and Sour soup; you will have had a bite of the daylily.

My last but most used plant in my home is the medicinal Aloe (Aloe Vera). This little perennial is a species of succulent that probably originated in Northern Africa. The Aloe plant had long pointed stems with lightly serrated leaves. Aloe is very hardy like the cactus and is used for treating burns and cuts along with being an ingredient in lotions and oils. The plant requires only that the soil be sandy and well drained. Despite these instructions, Aloe can thrive in the poorest soil and conditions for a very long time. Trust me, this has been tested in my learning years as a plant enthusiast.

Although these are some of my favorites; there are many many more to choose from. I love plants and gardening and I love to learn the personalities of the perennials. Enjoy your experiences with these 10 faves of mine and find more that will intrigue you as well.

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