Perennial plant growing: Globetrotters with deep roots
Here's what to expect:
Selecting, replanting and caring for parent plants
Propagating perennials and cultivating them until ready for sale
Selecting, marking and packing perennials
Presenting and selling perennials
Providing information and advice to customers
Domestic flowering stars and exotic imports
They come from Canada and Russia, from China and Austria, from Malaysia and South Africa: growing in our gardens are perennials from many different countries. "Plant hunters" once brought perennial plants from expeditions to distant climes, often winning considerable fame for themselves. But the credit for the ability of such beautiful plants as bleeding heart (Dicentra spectabilis), fountaingrass (Pennisetum) and plantain lilies (Hosta) to thrive in large numbers here at home belongs to the guild of perennial horticulturists. These are the experts when it comes to propagating colourful blossoming beauties, delicate grasses or imposing leafy shrubs and raising them as robust plants. With their practised eye, they also often discover new varieties or breed new types.
Respected experts in many fields
The specialised knowledge that perennial growers need for their work and the tasks they perform every day is as varied as the plants themselves. What sort of fertiliser do the plants need and when? How can I coax a larkspur (Delphinium) to flower a second time? And what should I do if beetles are munching on my beautiful lilies? Perennial growers have the answers to these and many other questions. They know exactly where a given species will thrive and can give their clients tips on how to make life easier for the perennials in their gardens.
Since perennials are grown not only in gardens and on balconies, but also in parks and along restored stream banks, perennial growers' customers include not only hobby horticulturists but also landscapers and local governments. Their expertise in plants also make perennial growers a key partner within the gardening community. Accordingly, providing advice and service is an important element of their training along with practical work with the plants. Those who would like to further develop their expertise in a specific area can apply to specialised gardening firms with a focus on, say, aquatic plants or fragrant perennials. And should wanderlust strike once your apprenticeship is finished, the network of perennial nurseries has long since overgrown the entire world — become part of it!