Why use Perennials

Caring for perennials can be a type of creative expression. Perennials offer a wide variety of forms, colors, textures and sizes. They are long-lived, compared with annuals, and can require relatively low maintenance. They can also provide vigorous new stock for transplanting and trading with neighbors and friends.

Perennials are versatile. From the thousands of species and varieties available, you can select perennials that will thrive in any type of site, from wet to dry, fertile to infertile, sun to deep shade. They often provide the solution for problem areas, such as steep slopes, hillsides and rocky outcroppings. Notable examples of perennials that will thrive in these special conditions are listed on the right.

A carefully planned perennial garden provides continuous flowering from early spring through late fall. Ornamental grasses and other plants with persistent flowers have winter interest, too. Combine perennials with annuals, ground covers, shrubs and trees to create a spectacular landscape that is continually changing in texture, form and color.

Problem Area Beautification Guide

Wet Areas

Fertile Soil

Rocky Areas

Iris sibirica

Astilbe

Aquilegia

Monarda didyma

Delphinium

Armeria maritima

Viola odorata

Dendranthema

Aurinia saxatilis

grandiflora

Dry Areas

Infertile Soil

For Naturalizing

Achillea

Asclepias tuberosa

Ajuga

Asclepias tuberosa

Baptisia australis

Helianthus

Hemerocallis

Gypsophila

helianthoides

paniculata

Tradescantia X

andersoniana

Low Plants

Shade

Tall Plants

Artemisia

Astilbe

Eupatorium

'Silver Mound'

Heuchera sanguinea

maculatum

Dianthus

Hosta

Phlox subulata

Calamagrostis

acutiflora

Hibiscus moscheutos

Designing With Perennials

Why design at all? Designing a perennial flower garden and seeing it develop before your eyes can be rewarding. It takes time, knowledge and experience to prepare a good plan. The planning stage is too often overlooked by the impatient gardener, and this results in a haphazard collection of plant materials. The eye needs a sense of order. Too many variations in sizes, shapes, colors and textures create confusion. Remember that the most spectacular gardens all begin with a carefully thought-out design that has strong lines and structure.

Five Steps in Designing a Perennial Garden

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