The Q&A Archives: Garden Planning With Perennials

Question: I am interested in creating a perennial garden which will bloom from early spring through fall. The garden size is about 12x3 feet in a slight arc with peonies and tiger lilies on either end that I would like to keep. What should I add and how should I arrange the perennials for the most attractive garden during the growing season?

Answer: There are so many plants you could grow! To begin planning, I would suggest you take a look at a book or two about perennials and see which plants appeal to you. One I particularly like is Perennials for Dummies, because it is straightforward and includes plant lists and other helpful information. The actual arrangement of plants is purely one of personal taste, although basic guidelines would include putting taller plants to the rear and possibly using several smaller sized plants together to create more of a visual impact than one would alone. You may find that your space is a bit small to accommodate a full season of bloom, since many perennials bloom for only a few weeks at most. . A few annuals interspersed with the perennials can help make the bed look full all season.

Some long season perennials you might consider would be early spring bulbs such as reticulated iris and daffodils, then heuchera or coral bells, coreopsis "Moonbeam", daylilies (hemerocallis), perennial salvia, purple coneflower, black-eyed susan, phlox "David", asters, sedums of all kinds, and fall blooming anemones. These should grow well in the sunny conditions suited to peonies and lilies.

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