Herbaceous Perennials

An effective accompaniment to Shrubs. They not only offer colour each year but fill in spaces to offer height interest and differing habits in a planting scheme.

They do not have a woody stem, the goodness returns to the base rather like a Bulb or Rhizome would. It dies back in the dormant period but remains alive underground. They require little maintenance save cutting back after their blooming period.

Reds

Monarda ‘Cambridge Scarlett’ – in full sun, this perennial offers delicate flowers in late summer, often red in bloom although their are pink varieties. It encourages beneficial insects so a valuable asset to the garden

Dianthus – come in a variety of colours from red, pink to white, summer flowering. Give them a clip to retain vigour of growth and prevent them from becoming straggly. Will prolong flowering as an added bonus

Mobretia or alternaively Crocosmia – come in a variety of oranges and reds. Very attractive flowers and very delicate in late summer. Invasive, however, and needs the corms dividing periodically to avoid it taking control

Salvia – a full sun loving perennial. An ornamental variety of the herb commonly known as sage. This is purely for decorative purposes and the variety ‘splendens’ can go from pinks to purples. So a choice for colour.

Orange

Helenium – a perennial that enjoys full sun in mid to late summer. Very robust and hardy. These perennials can be divided to produce other plants and this will always improve the plants performance.

Knipfolia – Red hot pokers provide a striking display providing they get full sun. They must also be in drained soil and do not like sitting in unnecessary moisture. Periodically they will benefit from division too. Might need training to stay upright with poles! Tall.

Purple

Liriope Muscari – an autumn loving perennial that can endure little water and at times a small amount of light. Purple spikes protrude from an ornamental grass habit. Divide this plant when it appears smothered and tired from excessive flowering.

A near cousin Liriope armeniacum Grape Hyacinth – provide fantastic ground cover in winter months and most flower early spring when nothing has surfaced. Very tough but very delicate and good in shade or partial sun making it ideal under trees and coveted spots.

Pink

Bergenia cordifolia – ‘Elephants Ears’ is a pink flowering evergreen known for its flowers as well as its leaves. Very easy to look after. Will provide pink flowers in Spring but attractive foliage and effective ground cover all year round. Good in shaded and ignored areas and drought tolerant once established. Will attract beneficial insects including bees so a lovely addition to a border.

Foliage

Ferns are great to fill a gap where other plants would struggle. Not only do they thrive in shaded, moist spots they provide effective foliage most very attractive but are also relatively pest and disease free. They add a unique textural quality that can not be replicated in the same way.

Heuchera – come in red and green varieties. Very easy to look after. Cut back after they have spent their blooming period. They will just come back the next year and effective in close clusters

Stachys byzantina – (Lambs Ears) a choice for the foliage element. Very neat compact habit, almost silver like leaves. These leaves are of a fur like nature.

Hosta’s are perfect because of their diversity, preferring a shaded spot they are ok for the less developed part of a garden or secluded but be mindful they are not taken over by other perennials too close. Most locations but not full sun and good for rockeries and as an edging plant.

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I'm Craft Gardener with several years experience. Due to the massive impact the internet has had on advice, forums and consultancy services - it seems knowledge and experience is everchanging and we should therefore share techniques and offer others alternative routes in pests, diseases and weed treatments. The very smallest alterations in aspect, soil conditioning and pruning can determine a plants vigour, health and lifespan hugely. My blogs and online assistance should motivate and interest even the most amateur of green fingered people. As my ex partner used to say "it's green isn't it"?