Top 5 All-Time Favorite Perennial Choices
I love, love, love perennials! How can I possibly choose some favorites to incorporate into my back yard landscape design? There are so many to choose from with so many unique characteristics. I love them all. Well, after many years of experience in landscape design, there tend to be a few that work well for so many reasons. I will make my list of “All time favorite perennials” from plants that give the most bang for their buck. Here, let me explain. Lots of long lasting blooms, handsome foliage all season, good cut flowers, tolerates various conditions, and above all has a great reliable track record. If it’s going to make this list, it’s got to be an all-around great perennial that I keep coming back to time after time in my designs.
Many of my back yard landscape designs include these plants.
1. ASTILBE: Astilbe has been one of my absolute favorites for many years. There are lots of different varieties of Astilbe that bloom at different times of the year. So, if you make a mass planting of several varieties (early, mid-season, and late blooming), you will have a super long lasting stand of blossoms. Astilbe’s foliage is very nice looking even when the plant isn’t in bloom, so it is gorgeous all season long. The blossoms even look great once they fade and turn brown. I usually like to just leave them stay there that way instead of deadheading them right away. These are a very low maintenance choice. And, if you like bouquets, Astilbe make great cut flowers! Their only real requirements are that you protect them from hot afternoon sun and give them lots of moisture.
2. BAPTISIA: Also known as ‘False Indigo’, this is a large, bushy perennial, so use it at the back of the border. Give it plenty of room, and it will reward you with lovely foliage all season long, and beautiful pea-like flowers. There’s an additional feature of the flowers turning into interesting pods. Makes a great addition to dried flower arrangements. Love this plant!
3. HOSTA: I know that some people don’t really care for Hosta, but I have to give Hosta some credit here. Nothing beats them for a shady area. There are literally hundreds to choose from, and with all their varying sizes, leaf shapes, colors, and differing flowers, it’s hard for me not to love them. They are incredibly reliable, and give a great pop to a shady spot. What do you get when you mix together huge blue leafed ones, with medium sized ones that have lots of white and small ones with green and yellow? Instant shade garden success! They look awesome with finer textured shade garden plants too. The big thing you need to be aware of is keeping the slugs and the deer away from them.
4. SEDUM: Sedum also has quite a few varieties to choose from. Everyone knows and loves the spring blooming creeping phlox. It makes a literal blanket of color. Just keep the grass out of this one. Other varieties have later blossoms, and come in a variety of forms. Some are lower and billowy, and some are sturdy and upright. The succulent leaves look awesome at all times throughout the season. Give them enough sun and they will reward you. The upright ones such as ‘Autumn Joy’ work well in cut flower arrangements too.
5. ORNAMENTAL GRASSES: Ornamental grasses are versatile, tough, and beautiful in the garden for such an extended period of time throughout the year. Even though they’re a little slow to emerge in the spring, the rest of the year, they’re stand outs. They create a striking vertical accent in the summer garden; t heir flowers add grace to the fall garden, and in the winter, they add more interest than almost any other plant. There are many varieties to choose from that offer different looks. Strikingly vertical, soft and billowy, or short and spikey, grasses are an easy care choice that gives tons of interest without much effort.
So, there, I did it! My 5 top perennial picks. Of course, there are so many others as well. Take a look at all the choices available, and plan the perfect flower border for your backyard landscape design.
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