The Perennial Garden

The Perennial Garden

We have been actively growing as much of our food as possible on our tiny plot for a few years now.  And for those few years, we have been kicking our own asses in an attempt to grow as much of our food as possible.

There’s the seed starting and the soil building and the up-potting and the transplanting and the crossing of fingers and hoping my little transplants don’t get hailed on, blown away by the spring winds or eaten by any variety of small creates finding their way through our yard.  And so, I’m tired.

To be honest, I’m real tired.

No, I’m actually exhausted.

Something has to change because, despite the gorgeous flowering of tomatoes and the sound of corn in the breeze, I am afraid I might throw in the towel if I feel like this for too much longer.

tomato flowers

Enter, The Perennial Garden.

(What’d ya think, I was gonna quit gardening?  Naaawww 😉 )

So, a Perennial Garden, ha?  What does that even mean on a plot as small as ours?

Well, let’s start with what we have already put in to date that is doing well!  We have:

  • Echinacea
  • Strawberries
  • Rhubarb
  • Lemon Balm
  • Oregano
  • Thyme
  • Sage
  • Chinook Hops

Let’s not forget about the fruit trees!

  • Apples
  • Pears
  • Cherries
  • Apricots


Pretty good start, right?

Next, let’s talk about what we have in the ground, but that is not doing too hot:

  • Grapes
  • Raspberries

Yeah…we need to either decide to call it a day with such things or make another plan!  I’m still hopeful for the grapes, but we’ll see…

Now, let’s talk about this year’s plans!  Because yes, I am exhausted, but I know that if I put in some extra work now, I won’t be so tired next year! (Hopefully. Maybe. We’ll see.) So, the perennial garden plans this year include:

  • Replanting a bed of asparagus (the bed we planted in last year was over-run by the neighbors tree roots…grrr…so these new guys will go into the front yard in a corner patch.
  • Plant a small bed of Yarrow (an antiseptic used for treating bleeding, both internally as a tea and externally as a compress).
  • Plant a small patch of Cota (a delicious tea, hot or cold, that can also be used as a dye).
  • Replant a patch of Chamomile (our previous patch was German Chamomile, an annual…rookie mistake).

Strawberry and chamomile

I am also on the hunt for these guys this year:

  • Sun Chokes (AKA Jerusalem Artichokes)
  • Choke cherries

Now, I don’t have any illusions about these few perennials suddenly making my life a thousand times easier in the garden.  I do, however, trust that these few items will help take the load off a bit.

Plus, there’s nothing like watching the first perennial sprouts of the year popping up through the soil when you’ve done nothing but watch the snow fly all winter 🙂

Now it’s your turn!  Which edible perennials do you grow?  Am I missing something important that I must look into adding?


Linking up to Homemade Mondays #81, The Homestead Barn Hop #160

Written by Melissa @ Ever Growing Farm


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  2. c.

    Apologies I missed what zone you are gardening in, new to your blog, stumbled across it looking for something else and you seem to be going through something I hit about four or so years ago. I promise it gets better. You learn methods, a rhythm, etc. I’m in zone 4 and can recommend elderberry as well as gooseberry.

    A source for your chokecherries:

    Mind you those are different from the choke -berry aka aronia that everyone is raving about these days. I grew up eating chokecherries and much prefer them to aronia. Aronia has a much higher tannin content that doesn’t seem to balance very well when making jam/jelly.

    I would not recommend daylilies. They don’t have much to recommend them in the way of flavor.

    I would recommend camas (blue) you can read hunter angler blog for his take on them, they are bulbs and can be ordered online.

    I would also recommend lupine (not really edible but good for the birds and bees) but it is an excellent perennial nitrogen fixer. Aim for the sweet version to feed your wildlife.

    I would also recommend american licorice, not a high nitrogen fixer, a bit lower level but also perennial, has a licorice flavor if you harvest the root otherwise a perennial.

    Good luck 😀

    1. Bee Girl

      Thank you so very much for all of these wonderful recommendations! We are technically in Zone 6b, but I will at all of these recommendations and see which can work here! 🙂

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  4. Dawn

    I agree with you that annual gardening has it’s ups and downs. It is beautiful and awesome and frustrating all at the same time. Someday when I have my own land (we rent a house right now) I would love to focus more on trees and berries, because I really don’t have any fruit growing, and my kids eat SO MUCH FRUIT!!! No matter the work or the frustration, though, I don’t think I could ever give up beans, peppers or tomatoes.

  5. Carrie W

    I can very very much identify with this frustration! I have been gardening my tiny tiny townhouse plot for 4 years now and if I am really diligent I can get 200+ lbs of produce out of 50 sq. ft. I have red and black currants (which bear in June for me in zone 6), strawberries, blueberries, lemon balm, sage, thyme, roman chamomile, lavender, rosemary, mint, bay, a dwarf meyer lemon which lives inside during the winter, and an aloe which also spends its winters indoors.

    If I had the space I would plant Egyptian walking onions, which, though not strictly perennial, are easy and plentiful. I also am starting to use my weeds more: dandelions, chickweed, and lambs quarters require no work from me. I grew lovage once (similar to celery) but it got too big for my tiny yard.

  6. Daphne

    I had German chamomile at one point. It does self seed rather well. Now of course I’ve decided I don’t want it anymore and its weeds keep coming back. If you count trees and bushes I have a lot of perennials. Most of fruit. The gooseberries are pretty productive. And I just put in currents last year so I’ll get a small harvest this fall. Hopefully. Gooseberries are really nasty though with their thorns. And the less thorned varieties aren’t nearly as tasty. Many of the other perennials you already have on your list. Though if you like horseradish that would be a good one to grow. It has been on my list to get for ages, but I haven’t yet.
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    1. Bee Girl

      Daphne, I wish our chamomile would have turned into a “weed”! I’m not sure I’ve ever had a Gooseberry! I will check them out and see if I can throw them in the mix 🙂 Thanks for the tip on the nasty, thorny ones tasting better! Horseradish is a good idea, too. Thank you!

  7. Angela

    I have Jerusalem artichokes I can send you after we harvest in November/December. They do grow well here, with very little effort or watering.

    You can also order golden currant and gooseberry seeds to grow from Plants of the Southwest. Actually they have a lot of berry bushes and perennial species that do well in our region.

    Restoration Seeds has a number of perennial vegetable seeds available too. Sea Kale, horseradish, French Sorrel, Bloody Dock, and more. Here’s a link to their perennials:

    And here’s another great source for perennial veggies:

    All our artichoke plants died from our ducks dabbling the roots up, but I’m going to grow them this year again. Even though you’re up at a higher elevation, I think you’ll be able to grow them if you heavily mulch in the fall. Of course that would all depend on if you enjoy globe artichokes. 😉
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    1. Bee Girl

      Angela! Brilliant! Yes, please, please send us some of your Jerusalem Artichokes in the fall! Oh, that would make me so very happy 🙂 I’m going to look into everything else you suggested as well, starting at Plants of the Southwest first! Also, artichokes?! I just assumed they weren’t possible up here, but i think you’re right in that it is definitely worth trying! Thank you so much!

  8. Deanna

    I’m currently working on our permaculture plans…with 90% of it being edible. I would add elderberries and currants/gooseberries to your list. Also, daylilies are edible (and pretty to look at). Make sure you get some legumes in so you don’t have to fertilize so much…groundnut, honey locust trees, and lupines are great choices.

    1. Bee Girl

      Thank you so much for the suggestions as well as the reminder about legumes! I’m intentionally trying to integrate more permaculture into our yard…we’ve done some, just by default without know to call if permaculture, but now is the time for fine tuning the lots 🙂

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