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.
Posts filed under Perennials
Be it clear golden, chocolate brown or shades of russet – these ‘fancy’ rudbeckia add spice and flare to the garden. These are Rudbeckia hirta, or fancy rudbeckia as I call them. Unlike regular rudbeckia they are a short lived perennial, with cultivars like Prairie Sun, Toto Rustic and Cappuccino as above that offer a range of colours. I plant these here and there through the perennial beds for fantastic blooms! Read more about regular rudbeckia by clicking here.
These luscious blooms opened in our last few days of summer heat. The deep red captures and holds you in its presence, so you just have to appreciate its beauty! Many of my lilies were taken out by the lily beetle several years ago, but this one triumphantly lives on. Read more about Asiatic lilies 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.
Whether you call them evening primrose, sundrops or the proper Oenothera, this easy care perennial overflows with golden blooms! The profuse four-petal blossoms in their vivid yellow hue are reminiscent of buttercups, but larger and more decadent. These lovelies have been blooming 4+ weeks and are still going strong. Be cautioned that this beauty is a spreader – read more about sundrops 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.
This extravagant campanula never fails to impress. The royal purple cups, with a sprinkling of golden pollen, glow in the sun. The stalky stems are stacked with dazzling blooms. The double form is resplendent in rich ruffles. While there are pink and white varieties, this splashy purple is my favourite. Read about another favourite campanula by clicking here.
Technical stuff – Canterbury bells/Campanula medium, hardy biennial to zone 4, height and spread of 24”+, full sun, blooms early summer.
My absolute favourite name for a flower is buttercups – it is the perfect fit for this petite but glorious bloom! What name could be better chosen for wee cup shaped blooms of buttery golden hue? And each petal has rainbow sheen, reflecting magically in the sun. Slender stems reach skyward, dancing above fancy cut leaves. This native wildflower grows in meadows and fields, and can also pop up in your garden. Do you consider it a weed or a gift of extra sunny blooms? If you didn’t know this plant already, would you buy it as a perennial?
Technical stuff – Buttercups/Ranunculus acris, native perennial wildflower, height of 24”-36” and spread of about 20”, part sun to full sun, prefers well drained soil, summer bloomer.
I am most excited that this stately wildflower has made home in our forest. On one of my walks I noticed the trio of umbrella-like leaves and on closer look met Jack, of jack in the pulpit (Arisaema triphyllum). This native plant provides folly for the imagination with its ‘little man’ perched inside his personal house complete with flap top roof.
Enchanting columbines (Aquilegia) are blooming now and ready for their close-ups! The spurred blossoms nod atop tall stems in a rich range of colours. The wildflower version in orange-red with a golden center is also blooming in forests now. Read more about columbine by clicking here.
What is more inviting in a garden than a mass of flowers? Creeping phlox, also called moss phlox or ground phlox (Phlox subulata) if you prefer, certainly delivers on this attribute! Spring brings a carpet of jostling blooms in choices of mauve, pink, white and bi-colour. The swath of pastels reveals dainty, notched-petal blossoms on closer inspection. The evergreen foliage grows in a dense mat, with next year’s buds starting to form soon after the blooms finish. Creeping phlox nestles well into rock gardens, or as an easy care ground cover in a sunny perennial bed.
Technical stuff – Creeping phlox/Phlox subulata, perennial hardy to zone 3, height of 4”-6” and spread of up to 24”, full to part sun, prefers well drained soil but will tolerate poor soil and is drought resistant, blooms May into June.
Grape purple lollipops are bouncing and bobbing on the spring breeze. Alluring alliums bring exuberance, height, and brilliant pops of colour to the spring garden! Read more about alliums by clicking here.
A last hurrah for the terrific tulips! Thanks to early, mid and late spring blooming varieties, and thanks to our cooler temps, the glorious show has lasted over a month. Whether pert and perky, floppy and luscious, swirled and curled, frilled and fancy, blushing and romantic, or kapows of thrilling colour – tulips are just stellar in the spring garden!
I had a walkabout this morn to cherish the last of the daffodils – we have jungle warm temps forecast for the rest of the week that will brown out the last of their blooms. From buttery golden, to fragile pearlescent, lemon yellow, or accents of blush or orange, daffodils offer dazzling range. Six ‘petals’ (tepals) surround a center ‘cup’ (corona), that is often frilled and of a contrasting colour (with the double Rip Van Winkle blooms above as an exception!). Pert blooms nod atop strong leafless stems that blend with spring green leaf blades. By planting an assortment of daffodil bulbs, their iconic cheer can enrich your garden from early to mid-spring, or until we get that first several days of hotter weather. Bulbs are planted out in the fall, and are not a favourite of squirrels! Above photos include some of my favourites: Green Eyes, Jetfire, Rip Van Winkle, Velocity and Ice Follies, but there are many, many varieties for experimenting!
Technical stuff – Daffodil/Narcissus, perennial bulb flower, height varies greatly by variety, sun to part sun, bloom early to mid-spring, like most bulbs they appreciate well drained soil and snip off browned blooms leaving the foliage to feed the bulbs for next year’s show.
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.