Mastering Gardening Series: The Basics, a Three Part Series
To me, to become the best gardener you can, you need to have an understanding of the basics of flowers. This was my motivation for this Three Part Series on the Basics.
“Flowers are the sweetest things God ever made, and forgot to put a soul into” ~Henry Beecher
Herbaceous Perennials: are plants that do not form woody (stems less than one year old) stems. They die down to the ground in winter and renew their growth in the spring. Some live almost indefinitely, while others tend to die out after a few years. A few are evergreen, some are vines.
Types of Herbaceous Perennials:
Annuals: Annuals complete their life cycles (grow, flower, set seed, and die) within one year or growing season. They may be vines or small to tall plants. They include tender perennials, which are treated as annuals in USDA hardiness zone 6, and plants that flower the same year they are grown from seed. There are some that are cool weather tolerant (sweet alyssum, snapdragon, pansy and calendula) and those that must have hot weather to thrive (Madagascar periwinkle, celosia.)
Biennials: Biennials grow vegetatively (do not flower) the first year from seed; then grow, flower, set seed and die the second growing season.
Bulbs: Spring and summer blooming bulbs are also perennial. Bulbs are different types of storage structures. Plants classed as bulbs may grow from true bulbs, corms, tubers, tuberous roots, or rhizomes.
Woody: are plants that have hard stems (stems over 1 year old) and that have buds that survive above ground in winter. For instance, trees (which are further broken down into the deciduous (lose their leaves in winter) and evergreen (maintain their leaves all year long) bcategories) are woody plants. The opposite of “woody plants” is”herbaceous” plants.
LIFE CYCLE OF A PLANT
A plant’s life is very similar to a human’s. A plant is born, grows to adult hood, conceives, bears fruit, let’s their children leave home, dies, and their children starts the cycle all over again.
Understanding the similarity of a flower to a human life will greatly help you understand the plants life cycle and their needs as living and growing elements of the world.
PARTS OF A PLANT
This might be basic, but it really does help to understand a plant body, kind of like we understand our own bodies.
Roots: act like straws absorbing water and minerals from the soil. Tiny root hairs stick out of the root, helping in the absorption. Roots help to anchor the plant in the soil so it does not fall over. Roots also store extra food for future use.
Stems: do many things. They support the plant. They act like the plant’s plumbing system, conducting water and nutrients from the roots and food in the form of glucose from the leaves to other plant parts. Stems can be herbaceous like the bendable stem of a daisy or woody like the trunk of an oak tree.
Leaves: Most plants’ food is made in their leaves. Leaves are designed to capture sunlight which the plant uses to make food through a process called photosynthesis.
Flowers: are the reproductive part of most plants. Flowers contain pollen and tiny eggs called ovules. After pollination of the flower and fertilization of the ovule, the ovule develops into a fruit.
Fruit: provides a covering for seeds. Fruit can be fleshy like an apple or hard like a nut.
Seeds: contain new plants. Seeds form in fruit.
There will be two more parts to the Basics, next will be How Plants Make Food and Pollinate, then Seed dispersal and Plant Adaptation.
I feel the flowers in my care are an extension to me and our family.
I hope you will gain insight from this Three Part Series on The Basics. If you have any questions, please feel to ask away.