Check out theHerbaceous Perennials Database created by Allison Mayer, a grad student at Cornell. The site documents data collected from the test plots at Blue Grass Lane maintained by Cornell students and staff, and “focuses mostly on lesser-known or recently introduced perennial cultivars and their performance in Ithaca’s Zone 5.” Lots of photographs to help you pick something new and different for next year’s garden. (Though if you find it locally, you may be able to plant it this fall.) Update: The link is finally there, for those of you who clicked on it and got nowhere.
Now, the digging and dividing of perennials, the general autumn cleanup and the planting of spring bulbs are all an act of faith. One carries on before the altar of delayed gratification, until the ground freezes and you can’t do any more other than refill the bird feeder and gaze through the window, waiting for the snow. . . . Meanwhile, it helps to think of yourself as a pear tree or a tulip. You will blossom spectacularly in the spring, but only after the required period of chilling.
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