In designing with plants, it is the perennials that ensure that there is constant change, and that there is always an element of surprise or interest in the garden.
Getting to know the dormant and flowering periods of the plants is essential to achieving the right balance in the design, so that as one perennial goes to sleep, another awakens.
Perennials, perhaps more than any other group of plants, are available in a huge range of colours, forms, textures and fragrances in both foliage and flower. There are perennials suitable for almost every area of the garden: from full sun to full shade, in large gardens or small beds and to suit every mood or style. Popular perennial plants include Penstemon, Gaura, Canna, Dahlias, Salvias, Lupins, Columbines, Lilies, Delphiniums and Hellebores - oh! the list is endless.
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A perennial plant (Latin per, "through", annum, "year") is a plant that lives for more than two years, unlike an Annual which grows, sets seed, gayly disperses it and then dies - all in a single season. Perennial plants are divided into two large groups: those that are woody and those that are herbaceous. They can be short-lived (only a few years) or they can be long-lived, and can vary in size from only a few millimeters to over 10 meters tall. They include a wide assortment of plant groups from Ferns to the highly diverse flowering plants like Orchids and Ornamental Grasses.
Perennials typically grow structures that allow them to adapt to living from one year to the next. These structures include bulbs, tubers, woody crowns, rhizomes plus others. They might have specialized stems or crowns that allow them to survive periods of dormancy over cold or dry seasons during the year. Many perennials have adapted to survive under extreme environmental conditions: some can survive hot dry conditions, or cold temperatures. These plants tend to invest a lot of resource into their adaptations and often do not flower and set seed until after a few years of growth.
Many perennials produce relatively large seeds, which can have an advantage as they produce larger seedlings after germination that can better compete with other plants or more quickly develop leaves, ensuring their survival.
In warmer climates, perennials grow continuously. In seasonal climates, their growth is limited to the growing season. For example, in temperate regions a perennial plant may grow and bloom during the warm part of the year, with the foliage dying back in the winter. These plants are deciduous perennials. Regrowth is from existing stem tissue. In some species, perennials retain their foliage all year round; these are evergreen perennials. Come in and take a look around. We've always got something pretty, perky and persuasive in the perennial line.
Winter Rose double. These delightful doubles are from Clifton Homestead - a Hellebore specialist from the deep South. The exquisite blooms are round and facing outwards on sturdy stems. Available in white and various shades of pink. Happy in semi-shade in humus rich soil that is well drained. Perennial.
Hellebore foliage is mostly evergreen but the old leaves start to look a bit tatty after awhile. It is usual to cut them off just as the flower buds start to appear.
Colour: Assorted Habit: Clump forming Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 45cm x 45cm
Winter Rose niger single. This is a lovely Hellebore that hails from the European Alps. Dark green glossy foliage that forms a mound topped off with stems of large white blooms that appear from late winter onward. The blooms are sometimes tinged with pink. Plant in semi-shade in well drained soil. Evergreen Perennial.
This was the first Hellebore I ever purchased many years ago and I still find it hard to resist today - it is really lovely in full flower at what is usually a dull time of year.
Colour: White / Pink Habit: Clump forming Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 30cm x 30cm
Helleborus Niger White Magic
Current Stock Height: 15/20 cm ?
Container: 2.5l ?
Wairere Nursery 826 Gordonton Road, R D 1, Hamilton 3281 Ph: (07) 824 3430 Email: