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Posts Tagged ‘lupins’

Hosta

Hosta

Do you know the difference between an annual and a perennial?  Not to worry if you don’t!  You are in good company; even among many gardeners.  The simple difference is an annual plant is a plant that usually germinates, flowers, and dies in a year or season, whereas a perennial plant lives for more than two years.

In gardening, the term annual mainly applies to plants grown outdoors in the spring and summer that complete their lifecycle within the course of a year.  Some short-lived annual varieties bloom and die back within a few weeks.  The term perennial usually refers to plants, especially small non-woody plants that have a life cycle lasting more than two years.  Technically the term perennial applies to trees and shrubs, but that’s a whole other blog…

Some perennials, herbaceous perennials, which have soft, green stems, grow and bloom over the spring and summer, then die back every autumn and winter, and return in the spring.  Evergreen perennials, such as some grasses and Heuchera, don’t die back, but retain their form year-round.

Climate, especially a colder climate, has a large impact on how a plant is classified.  Some plants we consider annuals in the Pacific Northwest are considered perennial plants in the perpetually warmer climates of the South and Southwest of our country.   I think this is a factor in the confusion of some gardeners, both amateur and established alike, experience.  It’s easy to see why many feel a bit fuzzy on the delineation of the terms.

Lupins Popsicle Mix

Lupins Popsicle Mix

I have to admit that when I hear annual, I think of flowers like Petunias and Calibrachoa, and when I hear perennial, I think of ornamental grasses or the striking forms of succulents.   However, I was recently awakened by our staff to the amazing variety of flowering perennials available.  Below is a list of my new favorite flowering perennials:

Lupins are striking flowering perennial plants.   We are currently carrying a mixed color series called Popsicle and I cannot think of a more fitting metaphor for these delicious looking blue, red, purple, yellow, pink and bicolor plant treats.

Bergenia

Bergenia

Bergenia otherwise known as pigsqueaks, is an evergreen perennial which features spikes of flowers in shades ranging between white and dark pink, and large rounded evergreen leaves.  Honestly, how can you resist a plant called pigsqueak?  The large foliage looks great, when mixed with a lighter, softer flowering perennial like Astilbe.

Astilbe features graceful fern-like foliage and is loaded with tall, feathery blooms that vary in color from white and soft pink to fiery red.  Astilbes are also a wonderfully low-maintenance plant for your yard.

Astilbe

Astilbe

Echinacea plants, sometimes known as coneflowers, not only provide an extract with extensive health benefits; they also have fantastic, vivid blooms that last all summer.  It’s a plant that does well in heat and drought, and butterflies adore it, so it’s a perfect addition to a butterfly garden.  They have great variety names too: have some Tomato Soup with your Mac-n-Cheese!

Bleeding Hearts are a time-honored favorite in a shade garden and lends a delicate and romantic look to your garden.  Some say the pink and/or white blooms look like tiny bloomers hanging on a line to dry, but I’ve always fancied

Bleeding Heart

Bleeding Heart

they look like a paper chain of hearts.

Hosta is a shade loving perennial plant with fantastic foliage. Interspersing Hostas in a shade garden with Bleeding Hearts, mentioned above, would look fantastic; especially a golden or variegated variety of Hosta.  They are easy to grow and have the added bonus of the blooms attracting hummingbirds.

The Peony has such gorgeous, showy blooms.   I’m going to let the picture speak on behalf of their beauty.  I will say that Peonies are long-lived flowering perennials, prefer full sun and they actually grow best in cool climates.

Coreopsis Mango Punch

Coreopsis Mango Punch

Coreopsis is a bright and sunny choice of flowering perennial.  They have a compact growing habit and long-lasting blooms in brilliant hues.  Coreopsis is sun loving and easy to maintain in your garden

Penstemon is another brilliant hued flowering perennial plant characterized by a tall stem dense with tubular blooms.  The blooms work well for cut flowers and are another flowering perennial plant that attracts hummingbirds.   Pentemon is another great low-maintenance plant for your landscape.

Penstemon Blueberry Taffy

Penstemon Blueberry Taffy

There is a definite advantage to planting flowering perennials in that they do not have to be planted every year.   Some perennials have a short flowering cycle; however, with some planning you can have perennials in bloom most of the season. Even when not in bloom, perennials with colorful or interesting foliage can provide interest year round and annuals can be folded in with perennials to create an unbroken colorful display.

Beyond flowering perennials there are even more perennials that provide wonderful textures, shapes and color to your landscape.  Their ongoing lifecycle make them a true investment.  As with any good investment, you get the dividend of plants that can be divided regularly and planted in other areas of your landscape or shared with friends and family.

Peony

Peony

If this blog has inspired you, I highly recommending coming into The Plant Farm to explore the world of perennials and talk with our staff for suggestions.  This week we have a Buy One, Get One Free offer on perennials.  So, now is an excellent time to start your exploration!

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