Perennials For Pleasure

 

Perennials are the workhorses of the garden disguised in lovely costumes.  They provide structure, a lasting foundation, and they are the heart of a garden.  Year after year, they will shine, with little work on your part, bringing countless hours of enjoyment.  I promise, you will fall in love with Perennials!

 

Columbine
 

Lovely yellow, tall, nodding flowers with dainty spurs makes this one of my favorites!  She started out as a small plant, but over four years, she has become a gorgeous five-foot tall plant!   Blooming for almost two months, the sight is just awesome!  Columbine self-seed but I prefer to collect the seeds before they burst open, to select my own planting areas.  

Columbine come in various heights and colors

 

           Crocus
 

The first to peek out into the cold, pre-spring landscape, crocus are delightful. They are brilliant stars in the white snow of winter.  Small clumps of lawn lifted and planted with crocus make a wonderful show in early spring and naturalize charmingly.   These come in many colors, my favorites are deep purple and white.  The giant crocus are a thing of beauty, large, with a dazzling grace.

 

         Nandina

 

Nandina is dependable and hardy, a real presence in the garden.   Foliage turns red in the fall with white flowers in late spring followed by red berries.  Also called heavenly bamboo, it is lightly branched with delicate, fine textured foliage.  Often her foliage is green, with red edges.   It grows six to eight feet and makes a grand privacy screen.  This plant likes the sun, but in our area, likes a little late, afternoon shade.

 

 

 Pieris  Japonica

 

This charming plant has flowers at a time of year when hardly anything is blooming.   Andromeda, often referred to as the lily of the valley plant, is a very hardy plant.  It survived our late April snowstorm and just looked prettier than it did before the snowfall. The reddish strings of buds will open to small, white bells from February to April.

         Red Twig Dogwood

 

There are few all-season perennials that are so striking as the Red Twig Dogwood.  This shrub grows tall with lovely, narrow, green leaves during the summer, small white flower clusters in the spring and in the winter snow, its bright red limbs create a stunning scene.  The reddest limbs are the ones cut just before the fall, the new growth. 

 

Daisies

 

Have you dreamed of a plant that would grow and flower without care, that was evergreen all year, a perfect, ambling groundcover with lovely white flowers on tall stems blooming in the spring for weeks and weeks? A plant that re-blooms after being cut in early summer and blooms a second time on shorter stalks?  One that can be transplanted almost any time of year and still prosper?  One that will grow almost anywhere, in any light conditions?  One that you can plant in an area and in a few years, have it covered with beautiful white flowers?  Here she is, Luther Burbank's Shasta Daisy!  Amazing, lovely, this one is a keeper!

 Daisies, perky in the landscape

 

Pyracantha

 

Do you recognize this plant? A familiar sight at Christmas, its ruby-red berries are much loved by birds, which makes them tipsy!  It is evergreen with sharp thorns, and grows quite rapidly.  The leaves are dark green and leathery, very handsome.  Spring brings branches heavily laden with fragrant white clusters of flowers.  These are replaced in the fall with the small, red berries which will decorate our doors and mantels during Christmas holidays.  Shrubs can be pruned to keep shapes intact or left natural, to sprawl and grow large as a wonderful, natural screen.

 

 

 

Hypericum

One of many in this family, Gold Flower Hypericum has brilliant yellow flowers with raised stamen and red berries that makes this a plant to cherish in your garden.  It has an arching habit with reddish stems and spreads in a lovely manner, making a great groundcover.  Hardy, it is a sun plant that likes a little afternoon shade.

 

 

 

 Sarcococca

 

This lovely plant prefers shade and rich, organic soil.  A slow grower, it has glossy, deep green leaves, and its little, white, flowers in early spring are fragrant.   These are then followed by red fruit.  Evergreen, it is hardy to zone 4.  I have three of these plants as they are truly lovely.

 

 

Rose of Sharon

 

This Hibiscus Syriacus is a deciduous perennial, taking full to part sun and is hardy to zone 1.  Although it loses its leaves each winter, it quickly greens up and presents the loveliest of flowers in shades of white, rose, and purple for a long bloom season.  They have multiple trunks  that are very handsome in structure.  Shrubs have a profusion of flowers in summer, the single form being the largest, although I do like the clustered form.   They look exactly like those ruffled tissue flowers (below).  Rose of Sharon are self-cleaning (you don't have to deadhead!).  Be warned that deer absolutely love its flowers!

 

Rose of Sharon are carefree, hardy shrubs

 

 

Wild Violets
 

The most wonderful groundcover ever, wild violets are evergreen perennials, with tufted runners that root at the joints.  The leaves are heart shaped, and dark green;  their flowers are often fragrant, spurred and a deep violet.  The white and light lavender varieties are not as fragrant.  The ones growing in our yard are a deep, deep violet with the most heavenly fragrance.  In the spring and fall they scent the whole yard!  These flowers self-seed freely, turning the area  into a lovely, soft groundcover. The violets prefer filtered shade but will grow in all types of light conditions, provided they have a moist environment. I let the violets claim whatever ground they desire and often transplant violet colonies to less blessed areas of my yard.

 

 

Penstemon

 

Hardy, with wonderful tubular flowers that beckon hummingbirds and butterflies, these are very easy plants to grow.  They self-seed and will quickly create a lush, full area of tall, nodding blossoms.  They come in various heights and colors.  They die to the ground each season so interplant them amongst bushier, evergreen companions.  They prefer sunny locations, and if in too much shade, they will stretch for the sun!

 

Penstemon come in a wide array of colors

 

 

West Point Tulips

There are many bulbs that return every spring creating a lovely show of blossoms.  These are carefree once planted as most bulbs are.  Some need dividing, some may need replacing after a few years.  They are all worth the trouble and almost fool proof for the beginner.   The complete flower is deep inside, just waiting to bloom!  One of the most lovely, late spring bloomers is the West Point tulip.  The shade is a deep, golden yellow which is very vibrant with strapping green leaves.  And imagine! It is named after our town!  These are striking in color and very handsome.  You just can't plant too many of these.

 

 

 

These are but a few of the marvelous perennials in our gardens.  Perennials are wonderful plants and the variety of choices is endless.  There is truly a perennial for every need, for every garden, and for every wish.

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