Perennials are plants that come back year after year, their life cycle extends past 2 years. There are endless possibilities, colour combinations, textures and sizes of perennial plants available. You can design a full shade perennial garden of just perennials with awesome plants like Brunnera macrophylla ‘Jack Frost’ (one of my favorites), Dicentra Spectabilis, Heuchera sp., Ligularia, Hakonechloa macra, these are just a few to mention, all of which have multiple seasons of interest that are more than just flowers. You can create a beautiful prairie garden with some amazing perennials. Echinacea, Rudbeckia, Coreopsis and some grasses like Calamagrostis acutiflora ‘Karl Foerster’ just to name a few.
Designing a perennial garden is an amazing adventure that is a very personal thing, as long as you follow a few simple rules this garden will look just as good in the dead of winter as it does in the middle of June when the garden is full of life and exuberance. Keep in mind that there are different seasons of the year and with each season there are different perennials that are showing off their beauty a little more than others. For example, Primula acaulis flowers early in the spring and kind of fades into the heat of the summer, while Papaver orientale will take over and show its flowers off in the beginning of the summer along with Peonies and Lilium, Hemerocallis will take you through the heat of the summer and Sedums will bring it home in the fall. Leave plants like Echinacea and grasses alone (don’t cut them back in the winter) and there will be some great winter interest. Look at texture and foliage colour as well, do not just rely on flowers in designing your garden. Follow these simple rules and do a little research on planting and maintenance and your beautiful perennial garden will be enjoyed for many years.