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 quick growing and rewarding perennial ground-cover that forms bold rosettes of foliage and spreads by under-ground runners. In early spring spikes of beautiful bright blue flowers appear en masse. Prefers a semi-shaded spot with protection from hot afternoon sun. Evergreen.
It is important that Ajuga does not completely dry out in hot dry summer conditions.
Colour: Blue Habit: Spreading Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 20cm x spreads
This late summer, early autumn flowering perennial has gorgeous rich pink, almost red daisy like flowers. Easily grown in a sunny position and looks awesome planted in a perennial border or any garden planting. Perennial
Colour: Pink / Mauve Habit: Upright Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 50cm x 50cm
With gorgeous lush green foliage and fiery red blooms this Canna makes a very strong statement when planted en masse. Great for adding a touch of the tropics to your planting scheme. Prefers a warm sunny position. Perennial.
Colour: Red Habit: Clump forming Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 1m
Enjoy the beautiful deep red blossoms and dramatic burgundy foliage of Canna 'Bronze Scarlet' all season. Although Canna 'Bronze Scarlet' is a tropical plant, most cultivars are easy to grow in most areas as long as they can enjoy at least 6-8 hours average sunlight during the summer.A dwarf form of the tropical looking Canna that has large rose pink flowers
Colour: Assorted Habit: Multiplying Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 60cm x cm
If you want a tough and easy to grow ground cover or edging plant then it would be hard to go past Liriope Royal Purple. Strong grass-like dark green foliage that forms a clump and spreads. Spikes of dainty purple flowers appear throughout summer. Tolerates sun or part shade. Evergreen.
Colour: Purple Habit: Clump forming Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 40cm x spreads
The Passionfruit vine has attractive mauve and white flowers that turn into yummy round dark purple fruit at the end of summer. To do well your vine must be in a sunny, sheltered, well-drained position. Though self-fertile will often to better when 2 are planted together. Evergreen.
Colour: Mauve / White Habit: Climbing Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: Climber
Autumn Crocus with delightful white crocus like flowers in the autumn. Attractive grass like glossy green foliage, not dissimilar to tall mondo grass. They are excellent in rockeries or borders. H.30cm.
Colour: White Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 40 x 40cm