I am a total hotsy totsy gardening lil' muk. I've grown plants you've only seen online and thought 'damn I'd like to grow that but I am a whiny pee-pants and they always die anywaaaaaaaaay.'
Oh fuck off already. You can too. Have a little faith. If your self esteem is that low, join a cult. They'll tell you how great you are until they squeeze some cash out of you, and then it's nothing but heartache, so don't give them any cash, but talk about how you're going to soon. Keep'em hungry. Heh.
If you want to garden like me, which you should because I garden awesome, get rid of your dumb self-talk at once. I am going to take you through this assuming you are a novice gardener, because otherwise why would this post title have attracted your attention? Unless you are masturbating to it. And if you are it's fine. You do you.
1. Plants always dieeeeeeeeeeee
Everything dies. Geeze. That having been said, some plants die in a year, and some wait a while longer. That is because there are two types of garden plants! Gasp! Clutch the pearls! But it's true. There are Two Different Types of Ornamental Garden Plants. Cue the angel choir! Just not the freaky flying baby heads. They just make everyone uncomfortable.
Annuals. From the Latin 'annus' which means 'year'. Go ahead. Snicker. They were an early civilization; they didn't know. Their word for 'anus' was 'culus'. Go back in time and call somebody an anus in Rome, like 'You Roman anus, you' and they'd just look at you weird. We have to set the wayback machine ahead to 1658, for....wait for it....France.
Now step up to some French person carrying their ancient baguette down the sidewalk and say 'You anus French person with your baguette there,' and they'd look at you weird because you probably don't speak ancient French. Don't go bothering the ancient French that way. They have enough problems.
SO. An ANNUAL is a plant that is only meant to be alive for one year.
Just one. Like your common Garden Petunia, which is a good example of an annual. You see, they're born that way. During their short time in this vale of tears they grow vigorously and put out lots of nice enticing blossoms to be pollinated because they have to gather up enough energy in one year to push into producing seeds; and that's because seeds are the only chance at a future they've got. That's all a garden petunia gets in the way of a future....a tiny seed. Posterity is a harsh concept for an annual. So quit looking at your deadass garden petunias in the fall and blaming yourself. It was foreordained. Part of the Great Mystery Of Life.
Perennials. From the Latin 'Penis', perennials are plants that stick up all over the place while they're young, and then not so much the older they get. That's a lie, but you get the idea, and the analogy is sound.
Perennials store energy. They aren't so much into making seeds, although they'll try it half-heartedly. The top part dies off in winter and then in spring it begins to grow back. It is a miracle.
Actually it is a function of energy storing plant structures.
A good example of a perennial plant is a Dandelion. Yes it's a fucking weed but it's a good example and I'm aiming at a broad audience here.
The Dandelion has a wide root that begins immediately below the foliage This area right below where the stem and leaves begin, this wide part, is called 'the crown'. This is the top of a huge long central root that goes far into the ground, and that whole root and crown serves as a place for the dandelion to store enough energy to get the important part of the plant through bad weather. With a perennial, the important part of the plant - in its opinion - is the crown. Not the leaves or the flowers. The root and the crown. The leaves and flowers and small rootlets all serve to harvest energy to preserve the life of the crown.
(There is a parallel to this in history, back in the Kings and Queens days, like, the farmers would bring food to the king and he'd refrain from burning the farmer out of his thatched-roof cottage for another year. Kings would do shit like that. Seriously. The early French called this 'Anus royale'. They did.
But even if you didn't bring some groceries to the king, your neighbors probably would have, so the King would be living large all winter, producing heirs, eating parsnips and cabbages and farting prodigiously and to appalling effect on that diet, and you're left looking at the smoking remains of your thatched roof cottage thinking 'Next year, brick.' Except you'd freeze to death. You: disposable leaf. King: crown. Geddit? Huh? King-crown?)
This is why you can mow a dandelion, slice the whole top of it off, pry part of it out of the ground, dump various chemicals on it and the bastard will just laugh and a few weeks later there the little fucker is with new leaves, trying to be all stealth.
Similarly, then, an ornamental , or Garden Perennial. You stick it in the ground and it dies back in autumn and you fall down on your knees crying your anguish into the empty skies, and then next spring there it pops up again, and you think 'Well what the fuck is that? I didn't put that there' and you dig it's ass up and throw it out, ya dipshit.
EVERYBODY DOES THIS WHEN THEY FIRST START GARDENING. It doesn't make you any less a moron, but it does mean that you have a lot of company.
So. We got two different types of plants. Annual = one year, then kerplotz. Nothing you can do about it.
Perennial: comes up every year in the spring for at least three years.
OK! We've got that straight!
ANNUALS only live for one year, then they fuckin' DIE.
PERENNIALS live for 3 or more years.
If you plant a PERENNIAL, then, put a marker next to the plant. A few inches away. I use a sophisticated stick scrounged out of my compost heap for the class factor. It lets me know "I intentionally planted something here, next to where this straight tall stick is, here in the ground." If something grows up close to the stick, let it alone. It's the perennial you put in last year.
That was lesson one. You're on the internet; go take a look around. Look up annuals and perennials.Don't do any buying yet, just look around. Get an idea of what you're seeing. Read the descriptions. Whatever plant catches your eye. It's a nice way to kill an afternoon.
NEXT WHENEVER I FEEL LIKE ITS THRILLING INSTALLMENT: A FAIRLY MINIMAL AMOUNT OF BORING SHIT YOU HAVE TO KNOW SO GET OVER IT NOW.