Hi, I’m Scott Reil and on behalf of expertvillage.com, I’d like to talk to you about perennial gardens. When you are establishing your perennial garden the most important thing to think about is what do I have to start with. So it’s real important to take the measure of a couple of different things to decide what kind of plants you can use and where your perennial garden should go. The first thing to look at is soil; you’re going to be able to change a lot of other things, you can even change your soil to some degree, but knowing what you’re starting with is really important. If it’s really sandy, we can add humus and peat to it to add, to increase the water retention, to increase its fertility, if the soil is really clay, well then we might need to go after it with stronger tools or other soil amendments like peat that are going to help break up that soil situation and help work it in. If your soil is really humusy, or really compacted, well we might need to just find ways of breaking it up, so looking at your soil is really an important thing. The next thing to look at is, how much water is there in the area? How much water is available? Good idea to dig that hole down into the soil and test and see what that soil is like six inches down. In some parts of the country, you can dig down that six inches and hit what we call a caliche layer or a layer of limestone and clay that’s going to just stop water from moving through. That generally means you’re not getting a lot of rain so it’s something to consider when you’re putting in your garden in there, you might want to go to plants that aren’t going to need a lot of rain. Light is another very important consideration that people forget about a lot when they are working in their gardens. And whether it’s a sunny situation or a shady situation or somewhere in between it’s going to make a big difference in the plants that you pick and how you put them in. One of the biggest mistakes that I see in gardening is people overestimating how much sun they get, and I always look for the full sun, if you don’t include those four hours between ten and four o’clock it’s not full sun. It doesn’t matter how many hours a day you get, outside of those hours, if it doesn’t include at least three out of those four hours, it’s not a full sun situation, so don’t try pushing full sun plants there, start looking to the partial sun pallet for plants that are going to work better for you. So surveying your site and determining what you have on hand to begin with is a great start and use your state extension services and their soil testing as a way to really help you figure out what you’ve got on hand and where you can go from there.