Thursday, March 20, 2008

Annuals versus Perennials

I have never liked to cook. I've always been more of a baker. When I cook, it takes an hour or two to prepare the food. The family sits down to eat and my creation is gone in 20 minutes. At least when I bake the food will last for a few days. I know that we won't eat a whole plate of brownies in one sitting (even on the worst of days!)

This is also how I feel about annuals. I could spend days planting beautiful little plants that will be gone by the end of the season. Everyone tells me that they are great for filling blank spaces in the garden. They also add color at time when the perennials do not in the garden. I don't care. I'm stubborn. If I care for something, I want it to last for more than five months.

There are three annuals that grace my garden - the lovely little pansy, marigolds and basil. The pansy reseeds itself so effectively that, in my head, it is a perennial. Marigolds keep nasty bugs away from my veggies. Basil is just heavenly, easy to grow and prolific. In fact, it took me a long time to add the veggies themselves to the garden. It seemed like a chore to plant them year after year. But I finally convinced myself that growing my own food, returning to a simpler way of life, producing healthy organic produce, and teaching my daughter about fresh foods and where food comes from is worth the work. (Of course, I've always had a perennial herb garden.)

I have never considered myself lazy, -- I own and operate two businesses, am raising a four-year-old, am writing a book, am making my own curtains and considering reupholstering my own furniture -- but I have always been attracted to things that last for the long term. This is probably why my first business was as an archivist. Archivists care for historical records and what lasts longer than history? I have a mental block for cooking and annuals. I like the idea of planting something with figuratively long roots. I like knowing that nature is strong and will survive a NH winter.

Perhaps there is something else going on here? Perhaps it is the idea of spending money on something that won't last? Maybe I need to convince myself that spending on garden annuals will provide equal enjoyment as say...that short term bar of chocolate? Maybe I should just dive in and try some annuals this year. I do have a favorite. Osteospermum, which is an annual in some parts of the country, is short-lived in my part of the country. I ADORE osteospermum with its daisy shape and delicate petals. The white petals remind me of porcelain. The orange and yellow versions are like a burst of sunshine. Can osteospermum change my bad attitude?

I know some people grow exclusively perennials. If you do, will you please explain why?

1 comment:

Robin's Nesting Place said...

I don't grow perennials exclusively, but do have a lot of them. I couldn't resist zinnias, cosmos, impatiens and petunias, I just have to have them, and they grow so easily from seed.