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.
Elegant sprays of pure white single and double, pom-pom flowers are borne over a long period above finely toothed, dark green leaves. It spreads to form a natural mound and is equally happy as a bedding plant annual or as a hardy perennial for the herbaceous border.
Colour: White Habit: Loose form Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 90cm x 60cm
Evergreen perennial that looks a little bit like a cross between and Iris and a grass. The leaves are attractively striped in shades of chartreuse and cream. The foliage is unusually aromatic. Ideal for planting in bog gardens or at the edge of ponds to a depth of 20cm. Prefers sun.
Habit: Clump forming Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 30cm x 30cm
Sweet Flag. This little perennial from Japan forms a clump of flattened green leaves with cream margins on short rhizomes both of which have a sweet cinnamon fragrance, especially when dried. Ideal for boggy spots or at pond/stream edges. Quite hardy and easy to grow. Semi-evergreen.
Habit: Clump forming Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 0.3m x 0.3m
Gorgeous shrub with lacy dark foliage. New foliage emerges green and darkens to a dark purple/black colour. Upward curving spikes of white bottlebrush flowers, which are beautifully scented appear in summer. Prefers moist humus-rich soil conditions and requires a lot of water to grow. Plant in sun to part shade.
Succulent. This succulent shrub has branching woody stems with black leaves which are arranged as rosettes and the flowers are borne on large pyramid shaped racemes. Refresh the bush with a post flower prune. Fully hardy, wind and coastal tolerant. Prefers full sun to part shade.Perennial
Colour: Yellow Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 100cm x 60cm
A dwarf Agapanthus blue fresh green strappy foliage topped off with gorgeous blue flowers for months on end. The flowers are eco-friendly in that they are virtually sterile, i.e. seedless. For maximum impact plant in large drifts. Evergreen.
This dwarf variety developed in NZ is highly valued as it does not easily set seed. With a generous flowering habit and rounded flower heads that are shaded an intense blue it is a worthy garden plant. Easy to grow. Happiest in sun but will tolerate part shade. Perennial. PVRHOM162
Colour: Blue Habit: Clump forming Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 60cm x spreadscm
Current Stock Height: 15cm
Container: 1.5l ?
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A very reliable and popular Agapanthus for mass planting and deservedly so. Neat narrow green leaves topped off by sky blue flowers that appear en masse in late spring through to late summer. Trouble free and easy to grow in sun or part shade. Perennial.
Colour: Blue Habit: Clump forming Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 50cmcm x cm
This NZ bred Agapanthus is dwarf in habit. The strap shaped green foliage will form a neat clump. In summer stems of silvery white flowers edged with ice blue put on a lovely display. Hardy and tolerant and easy to grow. Good for mass planting. Can cope with dry coastal conditions. Perennial.
Colour: White / Blue Habit: Clump forming Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 30cm x 60cm