Gardening with Perennials (and other yard tips)

I have been meaning to write this post, oh, since the spring. Of 2017. Oh well. Better late than never….or super timely because I waited long enough..

I feel like I’m a little bit qualified to give yard advice. I’ve had flowerbeds for at least 9 years. I’ve had thriving plants in them equally as long. And last summer we won Denton’s Yard of the Month award! I used to tell my husband that it was my old-lady-dream then I realized, ‘heck, might as well go for it now’. SHOOT FOR THE STARS PEOPLE!

With my short resume explained, I want to tell you how we have created our plant filled yard on a budget.

Gardening tips for planting with perennials. (zone 8)

Here are a few pictures of our front yard from last spring when everything was starting to bloom and grow. We’re in zone 8 in case you’re curious. You can find your garden zone here.

Gardening tips for planting with perennials. (zone 8)

Our landscape is definitely casual. The ranch style design of our house lends well to Texas natives and an organic looking layout.

Gardening tips for planting with perennials. (zone 8)
Gardening tips for planting with perennials. (zone 8)
Gardening tips for planting with perennials. (zone 8)

Pretty right? We have 4 large flower beds in the front yard. We made them, enlarged them and planted them at different times over the years.  Pretty much everything you see was planted from plants that we already had and split up to multiply, some shared by my sweet green-thumbed, hard-working mother-in-law and some from the clearance section at Lowes.

Here is what it all looks like a little further into the summer. Things get large and in charge y’all.

Gardening tips for planting with perennials. (zone 8)

I wanted to share how we’ve gotten and cared for this many plants over the years. How I multiply and divide these beauties to have a yard full of plants without spending tons of money.

First of all, it took me a while to actually stand behind this fact but plants can only do well when they have really good soil. My mother-in-law taught me that if you have $100 to spend on your yard spend $90 on making your soil better. SO BORING I know…. But if the plants aren’t in good soil, they won’t thrive. We spend money on soil when we start a new flower bed and mulch our beds every year. It makes a huge difference. Promise.

Secondly, I only plant perennials. Those are plants that come back year after year. I’m a cheapskate! Why would I buy plants that just die and have to be re-bought?

Gardening tips for planting with perennials. (zone 8)

With perennials, because they’re perennials, they get bigger every year and you can split them into multiple plants throughout your yard. They can mound and grow in new clumps, some seed and will give you new plants next to the momma plant and some will droop over and create new roots from a  branch of the momma plant.

This is a mexican petunia. They stay low to the ground, like sun and don’t need much water at all. This one was really big so I split it to send extra home with my mom. If you look at a perennial, you can see where the plants seem to have
mounded into new ones. This one was multiple mounds. So I found a
piece that looked like it was clumped together.

Gardening tips for planting with perennials. (zone 8)
Once I find a part to take, I put our shovel straight down into that section and break through the roots that are attached to each other.
Gardening tips for planting with perennials. (zone 8)
Step on that shovel. My hubs is reading this and side eyeing my choice of footwear in this picture. I just know it. IT’S PART OF MY CHARM, JOEL!
Gardening tips for planting with perennials. (zone 8)

Also, don’t mind the weeds in this pic….I just noticed them and now they’re driving me crazy. If I could turn back time…..

Once I’ve separated the plant, pull out the new part like you would a weed and plant it somewhere else! I just press in the dirt around the
roots of the plant that’s staying. Don’t leave the roots exposed.

Gardening tips for planting with perennials. (zone 8)

Plop the new one right in somewhere and give it some water. With any transplant, you have to baby it for a few days but that’s it. I would water this transplant every day for like four or five days. You’ll see it wilting for the first bit but then one day you’ll go out to water and it will look happy and healthy. DONE!

In our yard I use a lot of salvia. In the picture below, it’s behind the purple plant and has the tiny pink buds. Humming birds love it.

Gardening tips for planting with perennials. (zone 8)

It’s a plant that grows up and out and has stems that will root new plants. I think it also seeds. We have about 10 or 15 of these in our yard and they’re all probably from 2 or 3 plants originally. This stuff can get leggy. Like, the stems will get long and the leaves don’t grow big. It causes it to look bare. You have to cut it back in the winter and again mid spring and fall so that it can grow thicker and bushier.

Gardening tips for planting with perennials. (zone 8)

Look at this morning light! Mom, way to make me look angelic. ; )

Gardening tips for planting with perennials. (zone 8)

We have a bunch of this plant called ‘autumn joy’ seedum. It blooms in about august and is just a cool succulent looking plant the rest of the year.

Gardening tips for planting with perennials. (zone 8)

It’ll get really big sometimes so I just snap it off and put the clippings in a vase with water. The clippings will make roots and you can make yourself a new plant.

Artemesia does the same thing. That’s the super light green almost white plant you see near the top of the picture below. (It can get leggy too and has to be trimmed back.)

Gardening tips for planting with perennials. (zone 8)

A couple more things..When we created new flower beds I shaped them thinking about what
would be easy for the lawn mower. No tight inside edges. Just big curves
that are easy to follow.

Gardening tips for planting with perennials. (zone 8)

We don’t have any
landscape borders. 1. because I dont think they’re pretty but 2. because I have this super irrational mom fear of a child tripping and landing on that metal strip with their face. Not likely but also gross to think about. Instead, we use a spade to make a gully between the flower bed
and the flowers. When the Saint Augustine runners hop over, they’re
easy to spot and reroute or you can use the spade again to trim them at
the border.

Gardening tips for planting with perennials. (zone 8)

I’m so thankful for this yard of ours. The plants make me so happy until it’s august and 110 out and they expect water everyday.

Oh, speaking of water!!! We don’t really have to water our yard much at all. In an average hot Texas summer, we water our yard maybe 3 times. Not per week but all summer. Keep your grass long, that shades the roots and water when the blades look droopy or curled in. We water the plants when the leaves curl also.  If you get plants that are native to your area, you shouldn’t have to baby them.

Gardening tips for planting with perennials. (zone 8)

Was this stuff helpful? It’s fun to share all I’ve learned. Hopefully you took something away.

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Gardening tips for planting with perennials. (zone 8)

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6 thoughts on “Gardening with Perennials (and other yard tips)

  1. I'm so glad!! You're right, probably not the same plants but at least it's helpful to know how you can make your yard budget stretch. Thanks for reading!

  2. This was all EXTREMELY helpful, especially the propagating/splitting info. I’m in Southern CA so not sure if I can use the same plants. (need to check my zone). We get way less humidity than you do. Anyway, BEAUTIFUL yard!

  3. I just found your blog and looked you up on Instagram and realized I've followed you for awhile…guess I need to get back to blogging! Anyway… love using perennials. I live in Missouri but have many similar plants. We even garden in the same footwear! Well, except yesterday because it was 40 degrees so I had my big boots on. One of my goals is to win yard of the month in my town and I'd probably do it if I could get hubby to weed eat and if we didn't have a dip in the front yard from a delivery truck (two years ago) that still hasn't been dealt with. I have plans though so maybe I can figure it out this year!

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