The Perennial Flavor of SummerMay 22, 2014
Perennials are valued among gardeners for their longevity. With perennials, you’re spared the extra effort of planting new ones every year and can enjoy them for years on end. Here are a few of the most popular perennials:
Astilbe is a beautiful perennial that comes in shades of pink, rose, and white. It is ideal for shady, moist spots. Astilbe flower clusters stand atop glossy, fern-like foliage and vary in size from 6 inches to two feet, and they rise to two or three feet tall. They may look delicate, but they’re actually quite tough.
Peonies are extremely long-lived, sweetly fragrant perennials that product flowers in late spring. The blooms can be so large that the stems have to be staked. The peony forms two- to four-foot-tall clumps in shrub-like bunches, and peonies come in a wide range of colors—almost every shade except blue.
Hostas give you a bright splash of color that that lasts all season long. They come in tubular flowers that appear on tall stalks. It’s an easy plant to grow, as long as you have ample shade. The leaves come in a large range of shapes, colors, sizes, and texture and may be solid in color or multicolored. Hostas are low maintenance and available in most nurseries.
Coneflowers are moderately drought-tolerant butterfly magnets, some of which are used in herbal remedies. The seeds in the dried flower head also attract songbirds to your garden. Their large, daisy-like flowers come on two- to three-foot stems and in shades of pink, white, orange, rose, and yellow.
Salvias produce spikes of small, densely packed flowers with sweet-smelling foliage. These flowers are very heat- and drought-tolerant and originated in Mexico. Plants grow 18 inches to five feet. Also known as sage, salvia flowers come in purple, pink, blue, or white.
Yarrow is a drought-tolerant, heat-tolerant, and cold-tolerant perennial with flat-topped bottoms and ferny foliage. Yarrow can be grown with little effort, even by a gardener with little experience. These flowers are hardy and grow in many tiny, tightly packed clusters. Its fern-like leaves are often aromatic.
Black-eyed Susans produce dozens of flowers in midsummer to fall, depending on the variety. They bloom from midsummer until frost, with orange or gold-yellow blossoms. Black-eyed Susans are native to North America and are among the more popular varieties grown in America. They tend to blanket open fields and are members of the sunflower family.
Russian sage are very drought tolerant. They’re suited to larger gardens, creating large crowds of blue flowers in late summer. Russian sage like sun, and they’re very tolerant of drought and heat. Plant them in the back of your garden to give them room to grow.