Planning for a Lasting Garden with Perennials
When it comes to perennials, there is a lot to know before going out to buy for your garden. In these past 9 months working at Anna’s, I’ve learned so much. Things I never would have considered before, like planting for the direction that your garden is facing, choosing perennials with similar care, staggering bloom times, and the important role of fertilizing. Just to name a few.
But still, when it comes to plotting out my own garden, knowing where and how to get started is a little overwhelming. I’ve been wanting to improve our front garden bed but have just never really researched or had the ambition to plot it out. To be honest, I’ve been putting it off because I find it so intimidating. Mapping out a garden and knowing how to get started can be a little overwhelming. For inspiration, I took a trip to some family and friends houses to admire their stunning gardens. Some areas of their gardens have over decades of maturity, while others are newer. These gardens have been well thought out and tended to with so much love and care. This is just the motivation I need!
There are a couple things to know BEFORE you go out and buy for your garden. The first being SUN EXPOSURE. Learning about sun exposure is a good place to start when considering planting. If your garden is:
- NORTH-facing = indirect light = SHADE (house blocks the sun)
- EAST-facing: morning sun (not very hot) = PARTIAL SUN/SHADE (sun for 6 hours or less)
- SOUTH-facing: full sun all day = FULL SUN (sun all day)
- WEST-facing: hot afternoon sun = PARTIAL SUN/FULL SUN (sun for 6 hours or more)
It is also important to consider WATERING requirements. If one plant likes to be consistently moist and the other prefers a bit of neglect, they won’t make good neighbours. Pair your plants up with other varieties that have similar sun and water preferences and watch your garden thrive!
These gardens are north/east facing, so they won’t be getting that hot afternoon sun. Hosta’s are a super popular choice as they have big, full leaves and still look beautiful when their flowering season is done. My Aunt Helens backyard is quite shaded in areas. In these sections she has filled the garden with large Hosta’s and Ferns. These plants thrive in shade and like humidity and lots of water. I just love this back area of her garden with the old playhouse that we once played in as children, still standing.
While I love the look of Hosta’s and decorative grasses, I’m looking to add more colour and flowers into my garden. After all, what is more satisfying than sitting outside and soaking up the beauty of flowers in full bloom? My friend Tiffany has the right idea, incorporating a bench into her garden.
Bearded Iris $12.99
I love how this garden has incorporated so many colourful flowers! If you're looking for flowers to add colour, or for cutting, Anna's has so many to choose from! I've highlighted a couple varieties from the picture above.
Lupines have deep green foliage and produce gorgeous spikes in a variety of colours in late spring to early summer. They do best in partial shade and like lots of water.
May Night Perennial sage is another colourful and hardy plant. It first blooms in late spring and if deadheaded will show more flowers at the end of summer.
Perennial Sage $10.99 - $25.99
The strength and endurance of perennial plants really is incredible. I am always amazed at how one little plant can come back after a long dormant winter season and grow bigger and stronger each year. My Aunt has the most impressive climbing hydrangea that has grown over her trellis. It is extraordinary! Pictured here is ONE plant, that with years of care has grown completely over her trellis, it is gorgeous all year long, and doubly so when it is in bloom.
Climbers are a great way to add a natural feel to the man-made elements of your garden or balcony. Clematis is another flowering climber that will surely add beauty to your fence, railing or wall. It begins flowering in late spring (so this one is JUST starting to bloom) and reproduces all summer into fall.
When trying to establish a mature garden, ground cover is a great way to fill in the gaps. I just love how my Aunt has a variety of Hens and Chicks and Jasmine intertwined in her steps. It softens the look and feel. Personally, I have always loved the look of Hens and Chicks. They are one of the only succulents that will tolerate frost and snow. They also don’t require much soil, making them a great addition to rocky areas.
Hens and Chicks $6.99 - $10.99
There are so may options and different routes to take when gardening. It is never a one size fits all scenario. What works for your neighbour, may not be well suited for your home. It is important to do your research and plant what is suitable for your space. If you do, you will be rewarded with a lush garden with years of regrowth to come!
Lastly, let’s not forget the important role of fertilizing. Plants need fertilizer like people need food. If you notice your plants leaves are yellowing, this could be an indication of a hungry plant! Remember that every time your plants get watered, fertilizer is flushed out. Plants that are watered daily should be fertilized weekly; plants that are watered every 2-3 days should be fertilized every 2 weeks.
Miracle Grow 1.5 kg $14.99
There are so many stunning varieties of perennial plants available, I could honestly go on forever. But my advice is to just go out and get started! Don’t turn it into a daunting task like I did. I’m finding now that all the worry was for nothing. Enjoy the process – it really is therapeutic. And if you find it overwhelming, just take it one plant at a time!