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.
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
One of the most attractive grassy textured plants available. Fine evergreen soft golden yellow foliage that will make a superb edging plant. Easily grown in all soil conditions taking sun shade and extreme wet. Ideal for those trouble spots.
Colour: Assorted Habit: Clump forming Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 10cm x 10cm
Sweet Flag - A miniature little grassy perennial from Japan. Forms neat clumps of weeping green leaves 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: 10cm x 10cm
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.
Colour: White Habit: Spreading
Actaea Black Negligee
New stock expected early July, 2021. Pre-order now. Estimated price $19.99 each. Payment when stock arrives.
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. Hardy, wind and coastal tolerant. Prefers full sun to part shade.
Colour: Yellow Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 100cm x 60cm
This succulent shrub has bright green leaves which are arranged in rosettes about 20 cm diameter. The yellow flowers are borne on large pyramid shaped racemes that can reach 90 cm tall. Refresh the bush with a post flower prune. Hardy, wind and coastal tolerant. Prefers full sun to part shade.
Colour: yellow Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 30cm x 60cm
Dwarf. Ultra-miniature agapanthus growing to only 10cm high which features classic pure white double blooms which appear above the foliage all summer and reaching just 20cm in height. Evergreen. Perennial
Colour: White Habit: Clump forming Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 10cm x 10cm
Dwarf Agapanthus. Wide strap-like leaves of dark green that quickly form a tidy clump. The summer flowers are a soft mauve-blue shade flowering just above the foliage. The flowers do not set viable seed and are therefore considered 'eco-friendly'. Happy in the sun. Tough as! Perennial.
Colour: Blue Habit: Clump forming Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 0.3m x 0.3m
Agapanthus Baby Pete
New stock expected early October, 2021. Pre-order now. Estimated price $20.99 each. Payment when stock arrives.
A dwarf Agapanthus white fresh green strappy foliage topped off with gorgeous white 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.
Colour: White Habit: Clump forming Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 50cm x 50cm