National Perennial Gardening Month is celebrated each June, giving you the perfect excuse to get outside, enjoy that warm summer air and plant some beautiful flowers. Perennials are plants that return each year, growing and blooming over the spring and summer, dying every autumn and winter, and then returning again in the spring.
Perennials need to be heavily watered after you plant them with two to three inches of mulch covering the soil around the new plant. They should be watered two to three times a week thereafter. Staking taller perennials may be necessary to ensure their stability and growth. Perennial plants include delphiniums, hollyhocks, peonies, salvia, coreopsis, Shasta daisies and catmint, all of which have a beautiful way of adding color, texture and fresh smells to your flowerbeds.
As we age, it’s important to remember that even though gardening is a pleasurable and rewarding way to get physical activity, it does come with risks that need to be considered before digging in. Bugs, uneven ground, muscle strain, dangerous tools and chemicals are all problems that could arise when you are putting your green thumb to work. Below are some tips to ensure you enjoy planting those perennials without stress or injury:
- Wear protective gear such as goggles, gloves, ear plugs, sturdy shoes, long pants and long sleeves
- Use insect repellent to protect yourself from mosquitoes and ticks
- Wear sunscreen to reduce your risk of sunburn and skin cancer
- Keep harmful chemicals out of the reach of children
- Sharpen tools carefully
- Follow instructions closely when using chemicals and equipment
- Drink plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration
- Take breaks often
- Lift with your knees
- Consider using knee pads, a stool or a chair when working low to the ground
Gardening may seem like a lot of work, but the fruits of your labor will make the time you spend in the garden worth it. The vibrant colors bursting from the ground and the butterflies and bumble bees frolicking through the flowers are sure to bring a smile to your face, even on grey summer days. Walk through your flower beds and take in the view. Stop and smell your roses, daisies and peonies. When the perennial buds pop up from the soil next spring, it will bring you joy knowing that the sunshine, blue skies, fluffy white clouds, birds and fresh smells are right around the corner.
Balance, HCR ManorCare's comprehensive health and wellness blog, supplies readers with healthy ideas throughout the year. The blog is designed to serve as a resource, not only for patients, residents and families, but for anyone who strives to live a healthy, "balanced" life. For more information and help making healthy choices, go to balance.hcr-manorcare.com. If you need help making a health care decision, visit our CareFinder and live chat.