The world of perennials is so vast there is no way to capture them in just one writing, however since they are all under one category let’s learn what that means. A perennial is a plant which is normally long lasting in the garden; technically it will live 2 years or more. It will typically go dormant during the colder months in areas where there are below freezing temperatures, and then emerge again in the springtime. This is a perennial in the garden; it is perennially showing up over and over!
Perennials are vitally important to most gardens; they are the relative backbone as they will bring multitudes of leaf size, shape and texture along with the blooms which are impressive on some. Of course not all perennials have big, showy, colorful blooms but most of them will produce some type of bloom at some point during the growing season. This category of plants will also grow bigger as the years go by, usually they’re third year in the ground is when they really start to pop.
Many of these plants are grown more for the blooms than anything else, plants such as Black Eyed Susans, Rudebeckias, and Peonies. Then there are others, such as Hosta and Astilbe that are grown more for the appeal of the shape, texture and color of their leaves. Within this category are plants who like colder weather, who are great in full sun, and some which would prefer a bit of shade.
As a landscaping plant, there are hundreds of these to choose from in order to create the perfect mix and have something blooming throughout the season. At Nature’s Friends, we tend to work with plants that thrive in this area and consider the level of maintenance desired. This is a goal of many gardeners and can be a bit of a trick to pull off. The fun of it is that this goal can be accomplished over and over as tastes change or as trees grow and provide more shade. Mixing perennial plants with annuals and shrubs provides a pleasing sight for the eye when it is done correctly.
We like to have some evergreen shrubs mixed in amongst the perennials in the landscape beds so that there is still structure in the garden during the colder weather when the perennials go to sleep and the annuals are pulled out. There is some maintenance for some of them, mainly it is good to deadhead the blooms to keep them blooming during the season. Then in the fall they can be cut back after the stems or leaves have gone brown. Other than that they are fairly maintenance free once they are well established, and will provide long term beauty as they get bigger and bigger throughout the years.