Perennial Flowering Plants: My Favorite Five That Can Take a Licking, but Still Keep on Blooming
Five Tough Plants for Tough Spaces
It took me almost three summers of walking or driving by the attractive northwest-facing slope that fronts a southwest Virginia retirement community before I appreciated the care and thought that went into making it so eye-catching. The landscape designer's plan for this 75-yard long and five-yard wide swath of color was devilishly simple.
Five clusters of tough perennial flowering plants, groups of three types of small evergreen shrubs and one ornamental grass combined to create a striking slope garden that tops a steep bank that faces a busy corner with a four-way stop. The slope garden caps the bank with a mid-section of well-maintained turf and a row of medium-sized, white-flowering crepe myrtle trees at the bottom along the sidewalk. The effect is truly a four-season garden.
The five flowering plants reach their blooming potential and put on a great performance in late June and throughout July. The evergreen shrubs, various shades of green, are the bones of this slope garden. They provide a green canvas for the blooming perennials, and structure and form during the other three seasons. They look fantastic dusted with light snow. The crepe myrtles lend themselves to defining the space with summer color and winter structure and form.
The New 2012 USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map
The map ranges from zone 1 in Alaska to zone 13 in Florida, Puerto Rico and the Hawaiian Islands. It is based on the average annual minimum winter temperature, divided into 10-degree F zones. The map is located at the United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service site.
Tough Perennials for Tough Places - Black-eyed Susan, thread-leaf coreopsis, purple coneflower, Shasta daisy and oxeye sunflower all grow well in average well-dClick thumbnail to view full-size
A Devilishly Simple Design for an Attractive Northwest-facing Slope - An eye-catching display of flowering perennial and broad-leaf evergreens makes a 75-yard lClick thumbnail to view full-size
What is your favorite kind of flower garden?
The Most Important Thing to Remember...
...is to Avoid Disappointment! Check the plant descriptions before ordering and planting them. Use a good source like the USDA Extension Service to make sure that your plants fit your location.
The Second Most Important Thing to Remember...
is that perennial flowering plants may be active or last throughout the growing year or through many growing years, but they don't last forever. Most need to be replaced periodically to maintain the beauty of the planting design.
The Third Most Important Thing to Remember...
Perennials are not necessarily low or no maintenance plants. Some of the ones gardeners admire the most need a great deal of maintenance. Balancing realistic wishes with available maintenance time goes a long way with little frustration to making a desirable and colorful garden.
Tough plants for tough spots. Give these questions your best shot.
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