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.
A very attractive Hosta with large ribbed rich green leaves that form a graceful arching clump. In late spring white bell like flowers rise above the foliage on long stalks. Prefers semi-shade and rich moist soil. Perennial.
Colour: White Habit: Clump forming Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 60cm x 60cm
An award winning Hosta with grey-blue leaves overlaid strongly with splashes of light yellow. Very striking as the clump matures. Violet flowers in late spring-summer but really it is all about the foliage. Plant in semi-shade in nice rich soil that retains moisture. Perennial.
Colour: Violet Habit: Clump forming Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 60cm x 60cm
This is a gold leaf hosta with a dramatically contrasting edge of blue/green. The colour will give you the best contrast with morning sun. Pale lavender bell shaped flowers are held tall in summer. Suitable also for planting in mixed containers or tubs. Easily divided in either spring or fall, but plants may be left alone for years. Deciduous perennial
Colour: Pale lavender Habit: Clump forming Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 75cm x 75cm
Kiwi Sunshine forms a medium size mound of leaves that emerge yellow gold in colour and then turn green as the season progresses. Kiwi Sunshine has pale lavender flowers and grows in half shade/shade. The height is 35 to 45 cm and the growth is medium to slow. Deciduous
Colour: Lavender Habit: Clump forming Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 45cm x 60cm
Small to medium sized hosta with bright greenish yellow lance shaped leaves. Flowers are lavender. Plant in soil that does not completely dry out in summer and protect from slug and snail damage. Perennial.
Grown mainly for their colourful foliage, they like a shady site with moisture. Protect from slugs and snails. Winter dormancy. Ideal for the south side of the house en masse.
Colour: Mauve Habit: Clumping Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 15cm x 50cm
Named after popular Hosta Hybridizer the late Mildred Seaver this Hosta will delight you with large textured green leaves that have white margins. Stems of lavender flowers in summer. Plant in a shady spot in nice rich moist soil for best results. Perennial.
Colour: Lavender Habit: Clump forming Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 60cm x 90cm
Attractive heart shaped leaves of rich green with broad margins of creamy white. Stems of bell shaped mauve blooms in late spring. Hostas perform their best when grown in moist soil with protection from afternoon sun. The longer you leave them the better they get. Perennial.
Habit: Clump forming Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 60cm x 90cm
A dramatic large leafed Hosta that eventually forms a bold clump of wavy green foliage edged strongly in white. In summer stems of mauve bell shaped flowers stand above the foliage. Happy in semi-shaded position in soil that does not dry out in summer. Perennial.
Use this Hosta in large drifts under deciduous trees or by pond and stream margins. As with all Hostas it is best to practice slug and snail protection.
Colour: Mauve Habit: Clump forming Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 60cm x 50cm