Monday, May 21, 2007

Pretty Persuasive Petunias

Buying a house is scary business, especially for someone like me who absolutely hates being 'the decider.' But, when I first saw the house I would ultimately buy, the yard was overflowing with hot pink and purple flowers. In my mind it was perfect in every way.

I didn't have a panic attack until the day of the closing. I kept driving around the block unable to get up the nerve to go through with it. My real estate agent was looking out the window watching my drive bys. After about 20 minutes, he marched out into the parking lot, flagged me down and said, "Grow up. This is a done deal. Now get in there and sign your life away." So, I did.

And, that's when the trouble began.

Because, after the closing, we walked through the house again and it was missing a bedroom! I was so excited about that blooming extravaganza outside that I didn't notice it was missing a crucial bit of square footage inside.

To make matters worse, those lovely flowers (at least 300 of them) were Petunias that croaked with the first hard frost.

It's this embarassing moment that inspired me to be a savvy mountain gardener. It's how I learned that perennials are not only your best defense against Mother Nature's abusive tendencies. It's also the only way to keep a big garden blooming and still afford to pay the mortgage. (Or, finance the construction project for another bedroom, as the case may be.)

* Hold your horses: May is downright hot up in here in the mountains... inspiring you to plant tender annuals, veggie seedlings and all sorts of things you shouldn't. Then Memorial Day comes. This is Mother Nature's most favorite weekend to exact revenge on all who've jumped the gun. Plant tender annuals on June 1st.

PS: You, too, can be in control of the weather! Simply plan a Memorial Day camping trip and watch how fast it snows!

* Annuals are plants that flower for a single season and then die. Perennials die back in the winter and rebloom year after year.