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.
Peruvian Lily - Inca Series. Bright and cheerful blooms appear from summer to autumn. Bred to remain compact and well behaved in the garden and for maximum flower power. Plant in sun or part shade in well drained acid soil for best results. Perennial. PVR.
Colour: White / Pink Habit: Clump forming Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 50cm x 40cm
Summer Paradise alstroemeria are selected for a more compact and tidier habit. Summer Glow features strong upright stems of creamy soft yellow blooms that will last well in a vase. The flowers and foliage are strong and erect. Easy care, prefers full sun and good drainage. Can be cut off at ground level if untidy. Perennial.
Colour: Yellow Habit: Compact upright Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 70cm x 60cm
Japanese anemone. One of the glories going into autumn, single hot pink flowers. Flowers in autumn and again in summer. Prefers full sun or shade in well drained soils. Flower spikes 70cm. Ideal for woodland planting where it will spread quickly. Perennial
This is a tough and hardy and spreads by strong fibrous roots so give it room to spread and you will be well rewarded.
Colour: Pink Habit: Spreading Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 1.5m x spreads
An easy to grow perennial that has spreading silver grey foliage topped off with large showy open daisies in a bright canary yellow. Happiest in a sunny well drained spot with protection from harsh frost. Evergreen.
Arctotis are perfect for covering hot dry banks, scrambling over walls and make a useful quick growing ground-cover. Tolerant of coastal conditions as well. The yellow daises in this variety look particularly good against the grey foliage.
Colour: Yellow Habit: Spreading Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 30cm x 1m
Masses of large coral, globe-shaped blooms neatly held atop sturdy upright stems. A tightly mounded, dry tolerant plant suited to rockeries and coastal conditions. The coral blooms make for stunning, long lasting cut flower displays. Low maintenance and tough nature, ideal for use in contemporary architectural settings and high traffic spaces. Perennial
Colour: Coral pink Habit: clumping Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 20cm x 50cm
Masses of flowers appear, in panicles, during spring and early summer. Broad arching leaves send up beautiful sprays of starrty white flowers. Adds great texture to gardens. Ideal for mass plantings as a groundcover. Plant in well drained soil, prefers filtered light. Perennial.
Colour: White Habit: Clump forming Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 60cm x 60cm
An extra vigorous variety of Artichoke that produces high quality green 'globes' that should be harvested before the flowers begin to open. Plant in the sun, tolerant of most conditions but will produce better in a nice rich soil. Perennial.
Colour: Mauve Habit: Upright Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 1.5m x 1.2m
Native. A selected form of the 'Hen and Chicken' Fern that has luxuriant thick and shiny green fronds. Makes a striking ground cover plant for shady situations. Looks good group planted beneath established trees. Likes the shade and nice moist humus rich soil. Protect from frost. Evergreen.
Habit: Clump forming Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 100cm x 50cm