Gifts of the Green Man – Perennial Patience

The first year it sleeps, the second year it creeps and the third year it leaps

What does it mean? I thought I’d share some gardening stuff today about growing perennials and shrubs.

This is one of the most frustrating things about gardening in the long term. Annuals are the instant gratification portion of gardening. Perennials and other longer lived plants take patience and when you are a brand new gardener you want to see growth. Gardening teaches patience. So when growing things keep in mind that it may take awhile to see anything happening.

First year growth is under the ground. Plants are growing roots and strengthening their stems and trunks so that future growth can be supported. This can annoy the crap out you. We are too trained now to want to see things grow NOW! Not going to happen. If you can’t deal with it, only plant annuals or biennials like artichokes and foxgloves.

The second year it creeps. You will start to see some growth but it won’t be much. The plant is still working on support issues and the gathering of nutrients in the roots but you will get a few blooms on a flowering shrub and if you are very lucky a few fruits but not an enormous amount.

The third year? Watch out! The plant, given enough water and nutrients and not being clobbered by things like late frosts and other weather calamities, it’s going to go boom all over. Vines in particular will go wild. Our solanceae (potato vine) and our Pandora vine looked like they were doing nothing for two years and made me nuts. Now I have to be ruthless with the clippers. Be prepared to start pruning judiciously so it doesn’t get out of hand. And enjoy the perks of enduring the wait.