Caring for Perennial Plants
An Introduction to Perennials.
Perennials are the most varied and versatile group of plants offering year round attractions such as foliage, flowers, seed heads, buds and scents to any location in any given situation. Perennials found growing in the wild have made a great contribution to the garden setting.
It’s the versatility and the wide variety available that make them so alluring and useful to the gardener. There’s a perennial to suit every type of condition you may find in you garden; sun, shade, temperature extremes, exposed, sheltered, free draining, dry, damp, wet, sandy, clay, meadow, woodland, coastal, mountainous, scree or rocky locations, acidic soil, alkaline soil, neutral soil etc.
If you know where the perennial in question grows naturally in the wild and you have that type of condition in your garden then you have made a failsafe selection (this information can be easily gleaned from reference books or searching on-line). Otherwise you’ll need to emulate those conditions in your garden, by restructuring your soil to adjust the ph, creating shade through the use of trees, shrubs or hedging, through watering or restricting moisture. Having said that perennials plants are very adaptable and tolerant of a wide variety of conditions when cultivated in the garden. Of course there are exceptions to this, for example some plants will not tolerate alkaline/lime soils. If this is the case for a particular plant gardeners may grow plants in containers to ensure the correct ph. The enterprising garden will try and find a way to grow the plants that interest them.
Perennials are often grown in herbaceous borders with many different types of other perennials where the sheer variety selected will set each off and/or offer year round interest, sometimes they are grown in conjunction with the trees and shrubs in garden to give layers of interest through the vertical and horizontal planes. A sheltered position and some winter cosseting can be exploited to grow more exotic perennial plants that may otherwise be to tender for the zone where you live.
Perennial plants offer an enormous variety of leave types, others are very floriferous, some offer height or ground cover, flowers of every colour, shape, style. There is perennial for each and every spot in the garden.
The arrival of each new season will bring new features to the garden, where the passage of time brings growth or die-back, foliage comes and goes, changes colour, flowers bloom and fade. Each season has it’s own characteristics. Many gardeners believe that spring and summer are the highlights of gardening year with the rush of new growth and abundant colour, but making a careful selection of plants for your garden can ensure visual interest all year round.