Perennial Plants


Perennials
I am now more selective about buying perennial plants and take into account my garden’s heavy clay soil which is terrible for drainage and very cold in spring.  I do still have the odd blip of buying something totally unsuitable though!   I have killed a lot of plants here and wasted a lot of money so it’s well worth while doing a bit of research and preparing the soil.

In no particular order here are some plants that have excelled in spite of the tough conditions in my garden :

Geranium Johnsons Blue

Geranium Johnsons Blue

Hardy Geranium Johnsons Blue.  This hardy geranium is smashing.  It gives a carpet of bright blue violet flowers in early summer.  Goes beautifully with Graham Thomas shrub rose. Very easy to grow and spreads even in heavy clay.

Geranium Rozanne - one of the most popular perennial plants

Geranium Rozanne

Hardy Geranium Rozanne.  I bought this a couple of years ago from Bob Brown’s Nursery in Badsey, Worcestershire which is full of great plants in a very natural setting.   The Chelsea Flower Show of 2013 voted it flower of the centenary show.  Flowers until late autumn and is very striking with large violet blue blooms.  A must for any garden.

Geranium Ann Folkard

Geranium Ann Folkard

Hardy Geranium Ann Folkard. Masses of shallow magenta flowers.  Spreads and adds a splash of colour.  I think the hardy geraniums are some of the best most reliable perennial plants of all.

Polygonum Bistorta Superbum

Polygonum Bistorta Superbum

Polygonum Bistorta Superbum.  I have just bought this (mainly because of the name – yes, I know it’s Latin but such fun to mispronounce!) and already it has become a clump of soft pink flowers beyond expectations.   It fills up a large space in my garden and I have just planted another called Polygonum Amplexicaulis Firetail which is a dark red colour.  I will add a photo next year if it succeeds.  Seems to like damp soil.

Peony Festiva Maxima

Peony Festiva Maxima

Paeonia lactiflora ‘Festiva Maxima’.  This is a really vigorous peony with masses of flowers.  Does need support but well worth the effort for the beautiful pure flowers.

Nepeta

Nepeta

Nepeta 6 Hills Giant (Catmint).  I’m always fighting some pesky animal chewing their way through my plants.  Rabbits have been a problem of late and this is great as it flowers all summer long, attracts loads of bees and rabbits seem to hate it. ( This year mice have eaten all the clematis and I am still trying to find a way of protecting them without killing.)  I noticed on a recent visit to Coughton Court (National Trust Worcestershire) that they had planted loads of it in their beautiful walled garden. It was also planted en masse in a gravel bed at the entrance which looked stunning.  Its amazing what can be done with such a humble plant!

Euphorbia Cyparissias.  A real thug in my garden which self seeds everywhere but when it comes out in early spring the yellow flowers with a honey smell are wonderful.  Great plant but I spend time pulling it out (be careful with the white sap as it causes skin irritation).  I have just planted another called Euphorbia Griffithii Fireglow for a hot border I am trying to create.  Photo to follow.

Astrantia Major

Astrantia Major

Astrantia Major.  I love this easy going plant with its pin cushion flowers that go on and on throughout the summer.

Aruncus Dioicus Kneiffii

Aruncus Dioicus Kneiffii

Aruncus Dioicus Kneiffii or Goats Beard.  This was in the garden when we moved into our house and when it came out in spring I couldn’t quite believe the size.  Clearly loves its position in front of the Rhododendron bushes.

Day Lily

Day Lily

Day Lily (Hemerocallis “Pink Damask”).  Lovely carefree plant – I am aiming to plant some more as they seem to love the soil.

Allium

Allium

Allium. Christophii and Aflatunense.  These bulbs are brilliant and I have them everywhere!  They have multiplied in areas where I have improved the soil.   The leaves at the base can look messy so best to have them growing out of ground cover or densely planted areas.

Lychnis Chalcedonica

Lychnis Chalcedonica

Lychnis Chalcedonica (Maltese Cross).  I wanted a bright scarlet perennial and this was the only one I could find.  It seems to be growing in my soil despite the label saying light soil required!  I gave it a good mulch in spring which probably helped.