Posts filed under Fave perennial
Suddenly there appeared two spires of creamy blooms, shooting up from amongst my lavender and sage. A bonus foxglove until now hidden in my veggie garden - cupped blossoms with maroon freckles, such a treat in October! Self-seeding can be a wondrous windfall (literally!). Read more about foxgloves by clicking here.
Every year renews my love for hardy geraniums! This cultivar, ‘Rozanne’, is a true performer with profuse perky blooms from late spring to late fall. The happy blossoms are exquisite stand alone, or en masse create a sparkling sea of blue. The finely cut foliage in mottled bright greens is also a treat! Read more about hardy geraniums by clicking here or here.
A single bloom of coneflower can hold me entranced. The spiky dome center, the steadfast petals – a truly strong bloom. And such a range of colours, from swan white to candy pink to sunniest orange to festive red and of course the traditional purple, plus more to collect. Yet another parade of glorious summer colour! Read more about coneflowers (Echinacea) by clicking here.
The dog days of summer with heat and dry gardens have arrived, and so peaks my admiration and affection for drought tolerant perennials. Yarrow is one of those tough performers whose glorious blooms exalt in the hot sun. Yarrow offers a varied palette from golden yellow and juicy cerise, to pretty in pink. I love the new ‘Apple Blossom’ and ‘Saucy Seduction’ planted last year. Read more about yarrow by clicking here.
The parade of daylilies is in full swing! They are extra extravagant with bounteous blooms this year thanks to the rains we’ve had. Satisfy your colour craving with creamy or citrus yellow, vivacious orange, rich rouge or rosy pink – daylilies come in a decadent array of choices. You can also indulge in textures of velvet, rumpled, frilled or silky smooth. This favourite perennial is a low maintenance staple in my garden. Read more detail by clicking here.
The fiesta of colour that is blanket flower (Gaillardia) has begun! The gentle grey-green foliage is loaded with blooms and buds, and more buds to come that will carry right into frosty fall. This feisty perennial is often short lived, but randomly and socially self-seeds to weave its bands of brilliance through the garden. It even pops up from hardened soil between stepping stones. With circles of fierce red to coral to orange and golden yellow, these sun-loving hot blooms add flare and sensation! Read more about Gaillardia by clicking here.
Much as I applaud spring blooms, emerging new foliage is just as thrilling! Coral bells are a delightful example. The tender new leaves arise in glistening newness – demonstrated above by glossy cinnamon that fades to amber, fresh ruffled green, perfect crisp form in maroon, and lustrous purple-black. If your coral bells are aging or have ‘lifted’ over the winter so that the crowns are exposed, then your foliage is probably shrinking. Give them new life by topping up the soil around the crowns, or digging the plant to divide and re-plant – either way the way the crowns should be at ground level. Read more about coral bells (Heuchera) by clicking here.
Sometimes it is the tiny that can be thrilling! If you have sedum in the garden, don’t miss their exquisite sprouting stage – the dainty new growth resembles miniature rosebuds, in a range of vibrant colours from deep burgundy to lime green depending on the variety. Read more about sedum ‘rosebuds’ by clicking here.
Just like that – add a little sunshine and buds explode into bloom! Pasque flower is a favourite perennial with its brilliant blue-purple blooms (comes in white and burgundy too!) to lift our spirits when much of the spring garden is still dry brown. Read more about pasque flowers by clicking here.
These furry, fluffy, feathery buds will be exploding into their jewel tone glory, hopefully tomorrow judging by the forecast of warmer tidings. Just one pasque flower shyly peeking out today. Read more about pasque flowers by clicking here.
These blue beauties inspire societies, designers and parties, and they enthrall and exasperate gardeners. Delphinium, commonly called larkspur, are possibly the most famous, the royal standard, in the English cottage garden. Their extravagant and elegant blue spires rise from a mound of soft green. The ruffled layers of blue petals entrance like Cinderella’s skirts, as if mini sheaths of the bluest sky have dropped to the earth. However these blue jewels come at a cost - delphiniums are particular with a long list of demands: they like full sun but not our hot, humid summers, they prefer what I consider elusive ‘moist, well drained’ soil, they are big feeders, and their tall hollow stems need wind protection and/or staking. I plant delphiniums like an annual, since they tend to be short lived anyway, then dose them with regular watering and twice a season applications of composted manure. Delphiniums are an indulgence in a large, low maintenance garden like mine, but I am unable to resist the call of the blue!
Technical stuff – Larkspur/Delphinium, hardy perennial to zone 3, height of about 36” with variance in height depending on species, dwarf varieties available, spread of 12”-36”, full sun, blooms in early summer, comes in blue, purple, pink, or white, but blue is the cat’s meow!
With a common name like bleeding heart, you know that Dicentra is an old fashioned, romantic perennial! The upside-down heart shaped blooms dangle in delicate rows from branches of dewy green. This is one of the first perennials to sprout in spring, sending up tender but sturdy stalks that quickly grow into an upright graceful clump parading exquisite blooms. ‘Common’ bleeding heart (Dicentra spectabilis) has the classic candy pink blooms with white accents, and the ‘alba’ form is pristine white. There are many species of Dicentra, including Dicentra exima with lacey, fern-like leaves. One of my favourite cultivars is Dicentra spectabilis ‘Valentine’, with red blooms and maroon stems, and ‘Gold Heart’ with chartreuse foliage. While bleeding heart is drought resistant, it prefers moist soil. Given a moist, cool location, it will bloom past spring well into summer, and you can avoid it browning and dying back. This easy care perennial is a favourite shade garden option.
Technical stuff – Bleeding heart/Dicentra, hardy perennial to zone 3, height and spread of 12”-36”, part shade to shade, prefers moist soil, blooms spring into summer. Note - Dicentra has been reclassified as Lamprocapnos, but is still commonly labeled by the old classification.
The thread leaf version of tickseed (Coreopsis) is the same easy going, ample blooming, bright and cheerful addition to the garden! The differences to lance leaf tickseed include – foliage of course, bloom size, bloom colour options, and height. The fine ferny foliage has soft needle-like leaves, and doesn’t grow as tall. The blooms are petite copies of the effervescent daisy blooms, coming in a wider colour array that includes shades of yellow, pink, orange, coral and red or wine. ‘Moonbeam’ above is a lemony-yellow tickseed that is on many favourite perennial lists. And ‘Route 66’ above has a burnished bloom of golden smudged maroon, or maroon smudged golden! I have also planted pots with tickseed beyond my zone, like the velvety wine edition above.
Technical stuff – Tickseed/Coreopsis verticillata, hardy perennial to zone 4 but check labels as hardiness varies, height and spread of 12 -18”, full sun, blooms early summer to early fall.
The profuse blooms of tickseed, or Coreopsis, grow into their own happy bouquet in the summer garden. Classic tickseed has buttery rich, golden flowers that can be single or fluffy double. New cultivars have stains of crimson, rust or red (like ‘Domino’ above). The long, medium-green leaves grow in clumps, sprouting slender graceful stems to carry the plump buds and blooms. This easy care perennial is heat and drought tolerant, loving a sunny bed. Tickseed will bloom early summer into fall, but does take some effort to keep the constant blooms deadheaded. The bright blossoms work well with purples like perennial sage, balloon flower, or with purple sand cherry as a backdrop. There is also a thread leaf version of tickseed, more on that in the next post!
Technical stuff – Tickseed/Coreopsis lanceolata, hardy perennial to zone 4, height of 24-30" and spread of about 24”, full sun, blooms early summer to early fall, 'lance leaf' and 'thread leaf' versions.
The enchanting and elegant blooms of hellebore are a highly anticipated part of early spring. To see those nodding, fairy blooms when the snow is still melting lifts your heart. Helleborus is commonly called hellebore, latent rose, Christmas rose or winter rose. This shade lover craves a woodland setting and blooms in an abundance of colours including shades of white, cream, yellow, green, pink, purple and red. The cupped blooms may be solid, blushed, or bedazzled with speckles, stripes or tints. Several of the long lasting blooms age from one colour to another. Hellebores have become popular in the last few years with tempting new offerings. My favourite addition to my garden last year was ‘Red Racer’ – a saturated scarlet red bloomer. The handsome evergreen foliage is glossy deep green, mixing wonderfully with hostas, coral bells, brunnera and other shade charmers. This is a perennial I could not do without in my garden!
See hellebore buds by clicking here.
Technical stuff – Hellebore/Helleborus, hardy perennial most to zone 5, most with height and spread of 12”-18”, full to part shade, blooms early spring.
This year I added a stellar new coneflower to my collection – ‘salsa red’. The vivacious blooms of this baby are a saturated, stunning red. Not just a splash of a colour, it’s a sizzling blaze of colour! There’s even more thrill as the opening blooms are white furls with flashes of magenta, that uncurl to the full hot tomato blossoms. As with all coneflowers, salsa red offers blooms from mid-summer to fall, with chubby domed seed heads for winter interest, and to keep the birds happy. Salsa red has bonus qualities of sturdy stems, compact bushy form, and lots of buds. This perennial’s spicy show will kindle warmth in your heart!
Technical stuff – Coneflower/echinacea ‘salsa red’, hardy to zone 4, prefers full sun, height of about 24” and spread of about 20”, scarlet blooms mid-summer to fall with great winter seed heads. Read more about coneflowers here, and here.
Sedum is the queen of fall colour for perennials – as other perennials fade, sedum makes merry to enhance the fall fanfare. Its broad, voluptuous bloom clusters are in fat green bud over the summer, opening to exuberant shades of pink, rose, auburn or white, then aging to antique shades of wine and copper as fall advances. This super easy perennial is refuted as one of the easiest perennials to grow, making my list of garden staples. It loves full sun and is drought tolerant with fleshy, succulent, ‘water storing’ leaves. Pinching the stems back about half way in May will make for bushier plants that are less likely to splay or flop. And you can choose to push those pinched stems into workable soil if you want them to take root. There are many delightful varieties: Autumn Joy is ever popular with pink blooms aging to copper, Purple Emperor has striking deep purple leaves and stems, Matrona has maroon foliage with dusky pink blooms, and Frosty Morn gives you sparkling white to pale pink blooms with variegated leaves. There are about 600 different species of sedum – above are the taller, upright varieties, and you can read more about ground cover sedums by clicking here.
Technical stuff – Sedum/stonecrop, hardy perennial to Zone 3 or 4 (varies by variety so check labels, some Zone 2 or 5), height of about 12”– 24”, spread of 18” – 24”, prefers full sun and well-drained soil but will tolerate most soils and a little shade, attractive buds in summer opening to bloom in late summer and into fall.
The best part of blanket flower is their long blooming, brilliant colour. The vivacious blooms have a sunny ring of golden yellow, a vivid red inside circle, then a burgundy and golden button center. The abundant stems rise from a mound of narrow, matte, gray-green leaves. This drought tolerant perennial likes a hot, sunny site. It is short lived (2-3 yrs), but is good to self-seed, and is not picky on soil as long as it is on the dry side and sunny. I have had cheerful blooms volunteer on gravel paths or even on the baked edge of our driveway. Blanket flower also comes in varied choices of burgundy, all-yellow, tubular or multi petal, or dwarf selections. The dwarf goblin blanket flower has a lovely mound of fat blooms close to the foliage, without the challenge of the sometimes floppy stems of the regular tall version. Any of the selections are a solid choice for a ‘hot’ garden bed.
Technical stuff – blanket flower/gaillardia, hardy perennial to Zone 2, height of 24”-30” (dwarf varieties available) and spread of 12”-18”, prefers full sun and soil on the dry side, blooms summer to fall.