Produce a posse of plants year after year
Perennial plants come in all textures and colours that come back year after year. You’ll impress the neighbours, attract pollinating insects, but most of all you’ll be rewarding yourself with a rich collection of beautiful flowers.
We’ve brought together a few tips for you so that you can achieve the look of a quintessential country garden adorned with perennial plants.
Plant high and low
Ensure that you make best use of the flowerbed and that you’ll be able to see the beautiful flowers of all the perennials that you plant. The best way to do this is by planting up tall perennials towards the back of the bed, perennials of medium height in the centre of the bed and finally the short, mat-forming tidy perennials towards the front. Follow this method and you’ll have created an orchestra of perennial plants.
There are lots and lots of tall perennials that you can choose for your garden. Look in catalogues for plants that achieve a height of 1m or higher to fill the back of the border. Here’s some examples to get you going;
Verbena bonariensis (1.2-1.5m) (right) dainty purple flowerheads atop tall slim stems. Great for bees.
Delphinium ‘Magic Fountains Mix’ (1.5m) purple, pink and white blooms on tall stems. A lovely cottage garden plant
Hollyhock ‘Charter’s Double Mix’ (1.2m) Again, another perennial typical of cottage gardens. Double flowers (having many petals per bloom) offer real impact.
For the centre of the border any plants that grow between 50cm and 1m are suitable candidates, what’s more the choice is huge. Beautiful blooms include;
Agastache Summer Fiesta (60-90cm) Bottle brush flowers available in many colours on stems with scented leaves
Monarda Cambridge Scarlet (90cm) (right) known as bee balm for its popularity with bees, this is a great plant for wildlife and looks great with its flowerheads that look like dramatic exploding fireworks.
Salvia Kate Glenn (70cm-1m) also called ornamentals sages- they’re a great lure for pollinating insects – the flowers come in a lovely shade of violet. What’s more – the leaves are beautifully scented.
Choose neat mounds and low-growing perennials for the front of the border. Again, there’s a wide selection but here are some favourites;
Lavandula Munstead Purple (30cm) Lavenders are great for insects and when flowering are reminiscent of summer on the warm continent. Cut flowers are great for the conservatory as well.
Campanula ‘Iridescent Bells’ (45cm) (right) Repeat flowering when dead-headed. Produces flowers in the form of pendant bells which are charming as well as attractive to insects. Foliage also provides visual impact.
Divide your stock in autumn and increase your plant numbers
Once your perennial display is over at some point in autumn (depending on the weather that year), take stock on which flowers performed best for you in your garden and which you got most enjoyment from.
Autumn is a great time to dig up perennials and divide the clumps. Use two border forks back to back to prise apart tough clumps. This may seem severe but these perennials are naturally robust.
After dividing place separate clumps in the flowerbed where there have been bare-patches or where you want to make more of a display of that particular flower.