For all you gardeners out there, it's always a pleasure to watch your perennial plants and flowers peek out of their winter sleep and brighten our springtime.
Serious gardeners may have been researching their gardening catalogs for new, rare and sometimes expensive plants for their flower beds. However, if you're on a budget, take a hint from those of us who live in Amish Country: there's a cheaper way to populate your perennial gardens.
What's a Perennial?
So, what's the difference between a perennial and annual plant? An annual plant grows from seed and only grows for one year. Popular bedding plants such as marigolds, petunias and impatiens and vegetables are annuals. They often produce more flowers (or fruit) and use their energy to produce seeds but when the cold weather arrives, they freeze and die.
On the other hand, perennials will come back every year from roots. They often only bloom for one season (in Ohio, spring, summer or fall). Only plant perennials that will grow in your area's climate zone, otherwise it may get too cold or hot for the plants to survive.
Perennials should be divided every so often so they don't get crowd themselves out and compete for moisture and sunlight. Spring is a good time to divide your perennials, but then what to do with the the plants you pull out of your bed? Here's where it gets interesting...
Sharing through Perennial Sales
Here in Amish Country, April is the time to clean up your perennial beds and either share with your friends and family. Or, you can have a garage sale (also a tradition in spring) and sell them. This a great way to start a perennial garden on the cheap. At a perennial sale, you'll often find new varieties for $1 or $2 a bag as opposed to expensive plants at your home and garden stores.
For those prices, you can buy plenty of choices to try out in your garden. If you don't like them or they don't survive, you haven't spent much to get them started.
Gardening is a way of life in Amish Country, and you'll also find that gardeners will know all about their plants - when they bloom, the best place to plant them (sun vs. shade) and how to care for them. Just ask - they'll be happy to tell you. Warning: it's a little bit addictive - once you get started with perennials, you may eventually become an expert yourself!
Where to Find Perennial Sales
Perennial Sales almost always take place during the Spring Garage Sale Season, so you'll want to find a local newspaper for the Garage Sale listings. Here in Holmes County, the best place to find those listings is in the Bargain Hunter (free) and The Shopper (free).
In fact, just before the 2018 Walnut Creek Spring Garage Sales going on next weekend, the Hostetler family will be having their annual perennial sale. Trust me, this is the mother lode of perennial heaven!
It will be at 4312 County Road 145, just east of Walnut Creek Cheese and west of Swiss Valley Furniture. You'll see the sale just off State Route 39. The perennial sale will take place on Wednesday and Thursday, April 25 and 26. Bring boxes to carry your treasures and plenty of cash. One last tip: get there early for the best selection!