In a world through nature’s eyes, it is the old growth forests, the strong-willed stands of woody shrubs, and the overgrown dense jungles that emblemize beauty. For they have #perennialbeauty. A beauty that doesn’t brag about its youth but rather wears its age and resilience proudly.
Perennial = Long, lasting. Seemingly infinite. Enduring.
Perennial Plants = Plants that last more than three years.
In plant world (aka our favorite world), the term perennial refers to any plant that lasts three years or more. You may be thinking, wait, isn’t this most plants? But the reality is that the large majority of our food crops are annual plants.
Annual Plants = All parts of the plant, except for surviving seeds, die off each year.
While many of these annuals are super yum and nutritious (we see you basil, tomatoes, and potatoes), it is the perennial plants that have long lasting benefits for our gardens, our farmlands, our forests, and really our planet as a whole.
Perennials are amazing because...
- More efficient at capturing and storing nutrients
- More efficient at capturing and storing water
- Deep, long roots that can tap into deep-soil water reserves in times of drought
- Prevent soil erosion from wind or heavy rainfall
- Less work for farmers and gardeners because they do not need to be replanted each year
- Block weeds from growing
- Create shade
- Significantly reduce the need for fertilizers and pesticides
- Create habitat for diverse ecosystems
- Staggered floral blooms for longer lasting beauty in the farm or garden
So where are these perennials?!
There are perennials in the wild. Think of all the trees in your nearby forests, the shrubs used in landscaping, and the fruit trees in your yard.
And there are perennial crops found in a plethora of farming systems. From large-scale monocultures (think tree orchards) to other agroecological systems that are promising in the face of climate change: systems combining mitigation with food production such as agroforestry and its relatives (silvopasture, permaculture and low-impact organic systems).
Nature shows its love for perennials by giving them the upper hand. The perennials often shade out other weeds and annuals, not giving them the light of day to survive. Less competition from weeds, plus their incredible resourcefulness means perennials thrive. They help mother earth out and mother earth helps them out ;)
Drinking from the Fountain of Perennial Beauty
The perennials withstand season after season: tolerating blizzard or cyclone or monsoon or even drought. They don’t ask for much in terms of maintenance. They take care of themselves by self-propagating. They are resourceful and have access to water from deep within the earth. Perennials show compassion and hospitality by providing habitat for wildlife. Perennials are protective of their roots by ensuring the soil structure remains intact despite wind or rain. Their wisdom is evident in their twisted trunks, or copious amount of leaves, or advanced root systems.
One sip from the fountain of perennial beauty and you just may assimilate some of their magic into yourself.