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.
Another beautiful dahlia from Dr Keith Hammet. Dark green foliage. From summer through to autumn stems of bright red blooms with a ring of light pink petals around the central zone appear. Plant in a sunny spot with protection from harsh frost. Perennial. PVR DAH022.
Colour: Red Habit: Upright Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 40cm x cm
Bred by Dr Keith Hammet, his stunning Dahlia will certainly add some magic to the garden in summer months. The deep maroon-black, divided foliage is offset by stems of single, tomato red blooms that appear in generous quantities. Plant in the sun and dead-head to encourage re-bloom. Perennial. PVR.
Habit: Clump forming Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 60cm x 60cm
This stunning Dahlia is well named as it certainly will sparkle in the garden in summer months. The deep maroon-black, divided foliage is offset by stems of single, vivid pink blooms with a yellow eye. Plant in the sun and dead-head to encourage re-bloom. Perennial. PVR.
Colour: Pink / Yellow Habit: Clump forming Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 60cm x 60cm
For thousands of years, Gotu Kola has been used throughout parts of the world as a therapeutic plant. In China, it is referred to as "the fountain of life". Frost tender, perennial
Where stories are told of medicine men living to an old age of 200 by taking Gotu Kola. We love Gotu Kola because it has many applications and is known to promote blood circulation, improve brain function, to heal superficial wounds and has many wonderful benefits for your skin.
A sweet and reliable Iris which has purple blooms in late winter - early spring. Attractive, sword like grey foliage. This Iris spreads by rhizomes which should not be completely covered by soil. Divide clumps every 3 years or so. Plant in the sun and well drained soil. Perennial.
Iris Kochii was originally thought to be a species Iris but it is in fact an ancient natural hybrid. Very easy to grow with a nice tidy habit.
Colour: Purple / White Habit: Clump forming Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 45cm x spreads
Stunning round flat flowers pale lilacky pink. Flowers in summer.
These have cult status in Japan for indoors. Needs a sunny position either in a bog area or with lots of compost. Water till flowering . Prefers acid soil. Divide every 3-4 years Perennial
Water Iris Elegant rose pink flowers on 1m stems, early to mid-summer.Ideally suited at edge of pond or bog areas.Winter doormant, plant in rich moist soil in sun.
However, it must be placed in a well-drained area during winter to stop rhizomes rotting.
This plant is very suitable for ornamental. She has striking leaves, blooms, or shape and is easy to combine. Requires a sunny spot and well-drained, rich soil.Originally a meadow plant and therefore particularly suitable for heavier soil types and occasionally moist soil.
Lavandula. Lavender Hybrid. A popular Lavender that produces abundance of long stemmed, dark lavender flower heads through-out the summer. These are used commercially for dried flowers and oil production. Just lovely in the garden and will help attract bees. Evergreen.
'Grosso' is probably one of the most deliciously fragrant of all the Lavenders available to gardeners' today. Well worth planting just for the fragrance alone.
Colour: Mauve Habit: Compact Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 80cm x 80cm
Outstanding foliage plant with crested rounded olive green leaves decorated with yellow spots. The foliage has a ruffled edge. The yellow flowers appear in summer. Will grow in sun or part shade. Prefers soil that does not dry out too much in summer. Evergreen.
Colour: Yellow Habit: Clump forming Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 60cm x 60cm
Smart South African clump forming, semi evergreen, perennial with narrow variegated green/cream foliage topped with fragrant lilac flowers from mid summer. Ideal for drift planting in the garden or trouble free mass landscape plants.
Colour: Pink Habit: Clump forming Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 0.6cm x 0.6cm