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.
Gorgeous shrub with lacy dark foliage. New foliage emerges green and darkens to a dark purple/black colour. Upward curving spikes of white bottlebrush flowers, which are beautifully scented appear in summer. Prefers moist humus-rich soil conditions and requires a lot of water to grow. Plant in sun to part shade.
Colour: White Habit: Spreading
Actaea Black Negligee
Current Stock Height: 10/20 cm ?
Container: 1.5l ?
New stock arriving beginning of October, 2018. Pre-order now. Estimated price $17.99 each. Payment when stock arrives.
A dwarf Agapanthus white fresh green strappy foliage topped off with gorgeous white flowers for months on end. The flowers are eco-friendly in that they are virtually sterile, i.e. seedless. For maximum impact plant in large drifts. Evergreen.
Colour: White Habit: Clump forming Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 50cm x 50cm
A very reliable and popular Agapanthus for mass planting and deservedly so. Neat narrow green leaves topped off by sky blue flowers that appear en masse in late spring through to late summer. Trouble free and easy to grow in sun or part shade. Perennial.
Colour: Blue Habit: Clump forming Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 50cm
This darling little Agapanthus has wide, short, strappy green leaves and sturdy stems of white 'snowball' flowers that appear throughout the summer. Well behaved in that it does not seed everywhere and forms a nice compact clump. Happy in the sun. Hardy, perennial.
Colour: White Habit: Clump forming Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 40 x 0.6cm
Current Stock Height: 10/15 cm ?
Container: 14cm ?
New stock arriving beginning of December, 2018. Pre-order now. Estimated price $12.99 each. Payment when stock arrives.
A fabulous dwarf Agapanthus that is well behaved and tidy. Strap like green leaves form a neat clump and from mid spring onwards multiple stems of mid blue flowers appear continuously for months. So easy to grow. Lovely to pick. Evergreen.
Colour: Blue Habit: Clump forming Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 50cm x 50cm
Here's something a little different - a variegated Agapanthus. Striking foliage in shades of cream and green combines well with very pretty sky blue flowers that appear in summer. A sterile form that will not seed "willy nily". Forms a compact clump, looks great planted in groups of 3 or more. Perennial.
Colour: Blue Habit: Clump forming Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 15cm x 60cm
Current Stock Height: 15/20 cm ?
Container: 2l ?
New stock arriving beginning of December, 2018. Pre-order now. Estimated price $19.99 each. Payment when stock arrives.
This attractive spreading ground-cover has very interesting undulating foliage that is such a dark burgundy shade it looks black. Bright blue flowers appear in spring through to summer and contrast well with the leaves. Plant in sun or semi-shade. Perennial. PVR HOM220.
While Ajuga is a very hardy and tolerant plant it prefers a soil that does not completely dry out in summer. I have also found that the best results are achieved when Ajuga is not baking in NZ's hot afternoon sun.
Colour: Blue Habit: Spreading Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 15cm x spreads
This ground cover has good contrast of erect, deep blue flowers with burnished purple foliage in Spring. It spreads by surface runners in the same way as a strawberry plant and can spread indefinitely. Excellent for moist areas. Wonderful for a shady border. Frost hardy trouble-free plant. Perennial.
Colour: Purple Habit: Ground cover Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 10cm x 30cm
Alchemilla mollis 'Thriller' is larger and more robust than the species, forming mounds of lobed, grayish-green fuzzy leaves topped by airy yellow flowers in spring. It is best in moist soil in part shade. Great as a groundcover or for cutting.
The common name for this perennial is Lady's Mantle. The wavy edged leaves are meant to represent the cloak or mantle that covered Mary as she travelled to Bethlehem.
Colour: Green / Yellow Habit: Clump forming Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 30cm x 30cm