LIcenter
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Location: Long Island, NY Zone 7a/6b-ish

First year perennial bed

While I do have many perennials around my yard, this is my first bed of nothing but perennials. I use no ferts. anywhere, and strictly rely on compost, and mulch for their nutrients. I do have an irrigation system, so as not to be hauling heavy hoses here and there, that is never set on the timer. Things get watered when they need it, not when the clock says they do. I really didn't expect much the first year, but was pleasantly surprised all in all how well the bed did. The area only had one hydrangea, one butterfly bush, and sedum (autumn joy).
I then planted this past spring Butterfly Weed (Asclepias incarnata 'Cinderella', Red Yarrow Achillea millefolium 'Red Beauty', creeping phlox phlox subulata 'Emerald Blue', Butterfly Flower Asclepias tuberosa 'Yellow', Strawberry Cinquefoil Potentilla megalantha 'fragiformis', Veronica-(Speedwell) 'Red Fox', Salvia 'Blue Hill', and some False Spirea.
As I stated on the intro page, my main goal is plantings that will help in the restoration of many of our declining critters that we need to keep nature in balance. With no further ado here are some pics, that I hope you will comment on (good or bad)

ImageDSC_0006 by schabefrank, on Flickr
ImageDSC_0007 by schabefrank, on Flickr
ImageDSC_0008 by schabefrank, on FlickrImageDSC_0009 by schabefrank, on Flickr
ImageDSC_0010 by schabefrank, on Flickr
ImageDSC_0011 by schabefrank, on Flickr

By the end of July my Cinderella's stood at four feet!
ImageDSC_0011 by schabefrank, on Flickr
One problem with this plant is Aphids! Freaked me out at first, but they really did no harm. Next year I will try this concoction, as I use zero chemicals anywhere in my yard. Found it on this site.
https://www.gopetsamerica.com/garden/pes ... phids.aspx
This fragrant mix will halt an aphid invasion fast. It'll also kill any foul fungi that might be lingering on your plants:
1 tbsp. of Garlic Oil
3 drops of dishwashing liquid
1 qt. of water

Mix these ingredients together in a blender, and pour the solution into a hand-held sprayer. Then take aim and fire. Within seconds, those bugs'll be all history.
Aphids!
ImageDSC_0013 by schabefrank, on Flickr
Also found them on the tuberosa.
ImageDSC_0011 by schabefrank, on Flickr

But when all is said and done, you just might be fortunate enough to attract these lovely's!

Monarch laying her egg. She came by very late in the year, so no baby butterfly this year. Next year should be very exciting if all works out. I've also tripled the amount of Hummers this year as well.
ImageDSC_0012 by schabefrank, on Flickr

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rainbowgardener
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Re: First year perennial bed

beautiful!

I have a few plants in my garden that tend to get covered in aphids every year in spring. I just go over them with my hand in a glove and squish the aphids (they are slow and stupid and just sit there and let you do it). That doesn't get every single one, but you have to leave some for the ladybugs. And the infestation does not return until the next year.
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LIcenter
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Location: Long Island, NY Zone 7a/6b-ish

Re: First year perennial bed

Thanks! Keeping my fingers crossed that the second years growth knocks my socks (er garden gloves) off.

imafan26
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Re: First year perennial bed

Lovely garden. Most of the plants you have, I can never hope to grow in my zone. If you add some plants to attract ladybugs it will help. If you can find a spot in the yard for fennel it will act as an aphid trap and attracts a lot of beneficial insects, ladybugs, and their larvae will be all over it. Fennel can be perennial, but it can also be weedy so cut off the seed heads before they ripen. The seeds can be used in the kitchen and they keep for 10 years or more. Fennel is not friendly to other plants so it is best by itself at least 10 ft away from other plants. There are some plants that are not bothered by it. They are usually plants that nothing bothers or have different types of aphids than the ones that are attracted to fennel. The plants I use are tropical so they will not work for you. Fennel does not bother horseradish, most gingers (different kind of aphids attack them), gynuura (a tropical spinach). Fennel tends to stunt plants grown near it, especially after it starts blooming. Since it attracts aphids, it will attract aphids to plants near it as well. I have a patch of fennel in a corner of the herb garden and I have not had aphids for over three years. It protects plants up to 50 ft away.
Lavender, coreopsis, coneflowers, butterfly weed, and agastache also attract ladybugs, butterflies, and other beneficial insects. Although not perennial, marigolds and sunflowers are great for that too.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

LIcenter
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Location: Long Island, NY Zone 7a/6b-ish

Re: First year perennial bed

Thank you imafan26! I do have Lavender right underneath the milk weed. It's getting so unruly I was gonna pull it this spring. Guess I have to rethink that. Fennel is something I can grow in my backyard with little harm of which you speak. "coreopsis, coneflowers, butterfly weed" are all in various places in my yard yard now, so it looks as if I am on the right track.

imafan26
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Re: First year perennial bed

The lavender I grow is lavender multifida, it is an ornamental lavender that can grow in zone 10. I am in zone 12a. For most of the plants that atrract beneficial insects, they attract them when they are in bloom. Lavender multifida or fernleaf lavender blooms nine months of the year. Lavender augustifolia species and the lavendins for the most part only bloom for a short time during the year. Same with coreopsis.

Fennel works the best for me because the blooms last for months. I plant 5 fennel in a patch and pull the older ones out. I treat them as annuals. I grow finocchio fennel for the bulbs so I start new ones when the old ones go to seed. They make a great salad as a slaw with vinaigrette or braised. They have a licorice flavor. The aphids on the fennel don't bother the fennel much and lady bug larvae are usually happily munching away on them. Lady bug larvae aren't pretty. The adult lady bugs eat a few aphids and feed on the flower nectar as well.

The other plants I use to attract beneficial insects are alyssum and cuphea. They pretty much are always in bloom and the bees and beneficial insects are on them every day of the year. The trick really is to get a combination so that you have most of these plants blooming in the season when the aphids peak but try to have something in bloom all year.

It also helps to put out ant bait in the garden. Aphids are herded and carried from plant to plant by the ants, control the ants and the aphids are easier to keep at bay. I use the Terro outdoor ant bait traps. They are self contained so the boric acid stays in the trap. If there are ants guarding the aphids, the aphid predators usually don't want to mess with them and they find easier prey. The only plants I actually have problems with because of aphids are the citrus trees so I bait them regularly and hose off the leaves with water to dislodge the aphids. Lady bugs will not go on the citrus as long as the ants are around.

When planting to attract beneficial insects you
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

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passionategardeners
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Re: First year perennial bed

Looks like your perennial bed is off to a great start! I agree with imafan26; seeking out plants that attract beneficials is important and makes the garden more healthy and self sufficient. I love perennials because they fill in very fast! Look forward to seeing more of your photos this spring and summer.

Happy New Year!
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Susan W
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Re: First year perennial bed

Lovely garden and very impressed with 1st year! Thanks for sharing!

Now, those orange aphids on your milkweed varieties...They are peculiar (particular?!) to those, and not other plants, a good thing. From all I can tell on mine and reading, they don't do much harm, just look nasty. You will most likely have lady bugs and hover fly finding them without much worry on your part. As I am trying to start butterfly weed and now milkweeds, am more attentive. Those orange buggers find the little starts in 4" pots. As the starts are so fragile, I try to knock them back some. Try a q-tip dipped in alcohol and wipe away a bunch. You can always rinse with water after that. Do go on-line and look at the various stages of lacewing, hover fly and lady bugs so you know you're not zapping the good ones. Hope this
helps.

I didn't notice, but do you have a bird bath or 2? That is essential for not only the birds, but your wildlife.

Looking forward to this seasons pics
Have fun!
Susan

LIcenter
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Location: Long Island, NY Zone 7a/6b-ish

Re: First year perennial bed

Thanks Susan. It can't be seen in those pics, but right in the center is a carved out rock that holds a small amount of water. This is more for the butterflies, so they can walk right to the edge for a drink. I am now in the process of looking for a couple of vintage cement bird baths. I'm just not that into the composite stuff. I plan on doing the east end yard sale tour this spring with hopes of finding something that strikes my eye. My backyard is the place that really needs one, as this is where I spend most of my time. I have a nice shady spot behind my garage where I can sit, take pictures, and just enjoy nature all day long. When the feral cherry tree kicks in the backyard abounds with many different birds. I love it back there!

LIcenter
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Location: Long Island, NY Zone 7a/6b-ish

Re: First year perennial bed

passionategardeners wrote:Looks like your perennial bed is off to a great start! I agree with imafan26; seeking out plants that attract beneficials is important and makes the garden more healthy and self sufficient. I love perennials because they fill in very fast! Look forward to seeing more of your photos this spring and summer.

Happy New Year!
Thanks p.g. If you were to see my spring wish list, you'd probably be asking yourself 'Why is this rich guy hanging out here?' Yeah I always shoot for the moon, just haven't gotten there yet is all. :D
Welcome aboard, and a very happy New year to you also.

Frank

LIcenter
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Location: Long Island, NY Zone 7a/6b-ish

Re: First year perennial bed

Time to resurrect this thread, to give you all a heads-up of what I've been up to. As it stands now I have close to, or over sixty plants in this bed alone. All of last years plantings have come back strong, even with the brutal winter we had, so hopefully by Saturday I will have pics up with a list of everything that is now in this bed, or at the very least planted nearby.

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KeyWee
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Re: First year perennial bed

Can't wait to see updated pics (didn't realize that this was an old thread at first).

Shirley Pinchev
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Re: First year perennial bed

If you want lots of critters, then do leave seed heads on the plants. My old neighbor who was a super tidy gardener once asked me why we had so many birds in our garden. I told her it was because I was left all the seed heads but she could not stand the look through the winter. My garden was filled with birds and other wild life feasting on the seeds and I never had to buy bird feed. Messy is good!

LIcenter
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Location: Long Island, NY Zone 7a/6b-ish

Re: First year perennial bed

Good point Shirley, and I love the look when all the old stalks are sticking up above the snow line.

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