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.
Lavandula. A NZ bred form of Spanish Lavender that has a nice compact habit and flower heads of glowing purple with little tufts on the top. Use to add colour to the spring garden or perhaps consider as a low hedge. Plant in a sunny well drained position and trim lightly after flowering. Evergreen.
Colour: Purple Habit: Compact Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 60cm x 40cm
Lavandula. Destined to become a favourite because of its ability to bloom the first year beginning earlier in the season, typically in early summer and lasting into early autumn. The grey-green foliage forms a compact mound topped with plump, rich violet purple flower wands that are perfect for cutting for fresh and dried bouquets. Perennial.
Colour: Lavender / Blue Habit: Bushy compact Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 40cm x 40cm
Lavandula. What a pretty little Princess this Australian bred lavender is with dark pink tufted blooms that appear from spring through to summer. Aromatic grey-green foliage combines well with the flowers. Loves the sun and good drainage and a coiffure after flowering. Evergreen.
Colour: Pink Habit: Upright Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 70cm x 70cm
Lavandula. Dwarf Lavender. This little sweetie will charm you with its aromatic, fine grey-green foliage and dainty stems of deep purple flower heads which smell delicious. Bred to remain compact. Plant in a sunny well drained spot and trim after flowering. Evergreen. PVR.
Colour: Purple Habit: Compact Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 40cm x 40cm
Lavandula. An outstanding form of 'English Lavender' with fragrant spikes of iridescent violet blue flowers held on long stems from spring to summer. Neat and tidy aromatic grey-foliage. Use in the border or as a low hedge or just pop one in a pot. Loves the sun and good drainage. Evergreen. PVR.
Trim lightly after flowering.
Colour: Purple / Blue Habit: Compact Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 70cm x 60cm
Lemon balm loses much of its flavor when dried, so it is a seasonal delight to be enjoyed while the weather is mild and the plant is green. However, enough of the fragrance remains when this herb is dried to make it a delightful addition to potpourri.
Like many other herbs, lemon balm can lose its flavor in cooking, so add it near the end of the cooking process. The fresh lemon fragrance and flavor go nicely with both chicken and fish dishes, as well as fruit and fruit juice drinks. Create your own herbal tea by cutting a few stems of lemon balm (plus any other appealing herbs), putting them in a pitcher, pour boiling water over them, and allow them to steep for about 15 minutes. Enjoy your tea hot or over ice.
Shasta Daisy. What a wonderful undemanding plant this perennial is and now in a gorgeous new colour. Large, soft lemon daisy blooms stand on top of sturdy stems above dark green foliage. Fabulous to pick and long-lasting in a vase. Easy to grow in the sun, will spread nicely. Perennial. TM.
Colour: Yellow / Cream Habit: Spreading Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 40cm x 50cm
Fabulous foliage plant for adding texture to your garden. Large crinkly edged leaves that I suppose you could describe as dull green however there is nothing dull about this plant. Use in large drifts under trees as this perennial will happily grow in a shady situation. Evergreen.
Colour: Yellow Habit: Clump forming Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 60cm x 60cm
If you are looking for fabulous foliage then the leaves of the 'Tractor Seat' Ligularia are hard to beat. Large, glossy, green and textured, the leaves put on an outstanding display in a shady spot. Stems of yellow flowers in autumn-winter. Evergreen.
This plant is commonly known as Ligularia but is more correctly called Farfugium japonicum var giganteum
Colour: Yellow / Orange Habit: Clump forming Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 50cm x spreads
Current Stock Height: 10/50cm ?
Container: 2.4l ?
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