Choosing the Right Perennials Flowers: Tips

Perennial flowers are wonderful plants for areas around shrubs and trees, garden beds, container gardens and window boxes because they provide a variety of shapes, textures and colors in the landscape.

Some varieties produce tall, vertical forms, some grow in mounded clusters and others create lovely groundcovers.

There are many sun-loving varieties, as well as shade-loving varieties, so it’s easy to choose the right perennial flowers for your landscape conditions.

Take a look at a list of perennial flowers that will thrive in your garden.

Violet

Who doesn’t love violets with soft, velvety petals marked with beautiful shades of yellow and purple?

Violets produce blooms in shades of white, pink, red, orange, blue and purple. You can plant them in borders, garden beds, wildlife gardens, rock gardens, containers and window boxes.

Violets grow well even in cold UK winters. To prolong blooms, deadhead faded blooms and cut back weak stems.

Light: full sun, partial sun, shade

Height: 5 inches to 12 inches

Spread: 6 inches, depending on variety

Blooms: spring, fall and winter

In addition to the list of perennials shown above, there are many other blooming varieties, as well as exotic grasses and varieties with year-round green foliage.

Anemone

Anemones are colorful, delicate flowers that rest on top of slender stems. Also called windflowers, anemones blow freely in the wind creating a poetic dance as they move.

Anemones produce fragrant scents and make wonderful cut flowers for your home. They produce cupped flowers in white, pink or rose and deeply lobed foliage.

Light: full sun, partial sun

Height: 1 to 3 feet

Spread: 1 to 3 feet

Blooms: spring, summer and fall

Aster

Asters are always at the top of the list of perennial flowers for gardens because they are native to the New Jersey area, easy to grow and drought tolerant.

Asters provide great height and striking color in any landscape. Some varieties grow from six to eight feet tall and bloom with beautiful hues of white, pink, lavender and purple.

Light: full sun

Height: 1 to 8 feet

Spread: 1 to 4 feet

Blooms: spring and fall

Astilbe

Astilbe will add a graceful, feathery texture and soft colors in white, pink, red and blue to your landscape.

In Northern UK gardens, astilbe will tolerate full sun, as long as there is a rich moist soil and adequate water.

In hot temperatures of spring and summer, the leaves can scorch in full sun, so it’s best to plant astilbe in shady garden areas.

Light: shade, partial sun

Height: 5 inches to 8 feet

Spread: 18 to 30 inches

Blooms: spring and summer

Basket-of-Gold

Basket-of-gold is a hardy perennial flower that loves to grow in unexpected places, like the edge of gravel pathways, patio borders, cracks between paving stones and rocky garden areas.

It makes the list of perennial flowers for gardens that need casual, informal appeal.

As the name implies, basket-of-gold blooms with vibrant gold flowers that add a lot of color to your landscape.

Light: full sun

Height: 6 inches to 3 feet

Spread: 12 to 18 inches

Bloom: spring

Coral Bells

The diverse colors and interesting textures of coral bells, makes them a favorite on the list of perennial flowers for gardens.

Coral bells produce spires of dainty, white, pink and green flowers and different colored foliage in silver, purple and burgundy. They grow in low clumps, so they work well as border plants and groundcovers.

Coral bells like rich, humusy soil that retains a lot of moisture.

Light: full sun, partial sun, shade

Height: 1 to 3 feet

Spread: 6 to 30 inches

Blooms: spring, summer and fall

Bee Balm

Bee balm is a special perennial flower that attracts butterflies and beneficial bees to your garden.

A native plant to New Jersey, bee balm blooms with lovely shaped flowers in jewel tones of white, pink, red and purple.

Flowers grow on top of clumps of dark foliage and produce fragrant scents.

Bee balm is often planted in herb gardens where foliage is used to make tea.

Light: sun, partial sun

Height: 1 to 8 feet

Spread: up to 2 feet

Blooms: summer and fall

Blanket Flower

Blanket flowers are hardy perennials for sunny garden areas. Varieties produce both single and double daisy-like flowers in bright yellow and orange hues.

They got their name because flowers resemble patterns and colors often found in Mexican blankets.

Blanket flowers thrive in gardens because they tolerate light frost and are deer resistant.

Light: full sun

Height: 1 to 3 feet

Spread: 6 inches to 2 feet

Blooms: summer and fall

Butterfly Weed

Butterfly weed is a native plant to New Jersey, so it does well with minimal care and maintenance.

Vividly colored flowers in white, orange, pink and red attract many types of birds and butterflies, including Monarch butterflies that feed on its gold/chartreuse foliage without harming the plant.

Butterfly weed is drought tolerate, deer resistant and fragrant, topping the list of perennial flowers.

Light: full sun

Height: 1 to 8 feet

Spread: 2 to 3 feet

Blooms: summer

Chrysanthemum

Chrysanthemums are a must-have for any fall garden. As a late-season bloomer, chrysanthemums deliver a powerful punch of color in shades of white, pink, red, orange, green and blue.

Some varieties produce daisy-like blooms, while others produce blooms that are rounded, flat, fringed, spoon-shaped or quill-shaped.

Chrysanthemums are great in garden areas and containers.

Light: full sun, partial sun

Height: 1 to 3 feet

Spread: 1 to 3 feet

Blooms: summer and fall

Peony

Perhaps the best-loved flowers on the list of perennial flowers are peonies.

They produce sumptuous single and double blooms in glorious shades of white, yellow, pink and red and rich foliage is deep shades of green.

Peonies are hardy perennials that grow well with little care and maintenance. Peonies have been know to bloom year after year for 50 to 75 years.

Light: full sun, partial sun

Height: 1 to 8 feet

Spread: 2 to 4 feet

Blooms: spring

Poppy

If you want brilliant color in your garden, plant poppies. Finer species including Iceland, Alpine, and Atlantic poppies have a special charm with flowers that come in an array of beautiful colors.

Oriental poppies are less refined, but they produce large, exploding flowers in brilliant shades of white, pink, orange, red and purple with black stamens.

Light: full sun

Height: 6 inches to 3 feet

Spread: 4 inches to 3 feet

Blooms: spring and summer

Sunflower

There’s no other flower on the list of perennial flowers quite like sunflowers.

They will provide height and brilliant color to any garden. Sunflowers are imposingly tall with large, floppy flowers that get up to 4-inches in diameter.

Bright yellow flowers form loose clusters that thrive in sun and soil that’s less than perfect. Taller flowers may need support in the garden, but they make beautiful cut flowers.

Light: full sun

Height: 3 to 20 feet

Spread: 3 to 4 feet

Blooms: summer and fall

Daylily

Daylilies are so easy to grow that you often spot them growing freely in fields and ditches.

They produce delicate, trumpet-shaped flowers in shades of pink, red, orange and blue. Blooms sprout on leafless stems that make them prevalent in any type of garden.

With 50,000 named hybrid varieties, it’s easy to see why daylilies are on the favorite list of perennial flowers for gardens.

Light: full sun, partial sun

Height: 6 inches to 8 feet

Spread: 1 to 3 feet

Blooms: spring and summer

Delphinium

Delphiniums are beloved by many gardeners. They produce luxurious, flower spikes in beautiful shapes and shades of white, pink, purple and blue blooms that tower over dark green course leaves.

They look great in formal and informal garden settings.

Delphiniums prefer good moisture and little wind, and they may re-bloom if you cut back flower stalks after flowers fade.

Light: full sun, partial sun

Height: 1 to 8 feet

Spread: 1 to 3 feet

Blooms: summer

Goldenrod

Goldenrod produces glorious flowers in brilliant yellow/gold hues. Many people don’t plant it, because they think it produces lots of pollen that aggravates allergies, but this is a myth.

The pollen is too heavy to blow in the wind, but it does stick to the legs of insects and butterflies that feed on the nectar.

When planting goldenrod, choose hybrid varieties that bloom longer and don’t spread out of control.

Light: full sun, partial sun, shade

Height: 5 inches to 8 feet

Spread: 8 inches to 3 feet

Blooms: summer and fall

Hellebore

Hellebores are easy-to-grow plants on the list of perennial flowers.

They produce exquisite bowl-or saucer-shaped flowers in white, pink, yellow and burgundy. Flowers are often speckled, providing variegated color and texture.

Hellebores are great for New Jersey woodland gardens, because they require low maintenance and deer won’t eat them.

Light: full sun, partial sun, shade

Height: 1 to 8 feet

Spread: 1 to 3 feet

Blooms: spring and winter

Hibiscus

Hibiscus are always on the list of perennial flowers that provide gorgeous, vibrant colors.

Hibiscus plants bloom with large, funnel-shaped flowers that are stunning in a garden setting.

Although blooms are short-lived, they provide dramatic contrast to other plant varieties. Make sure you give them plenty of water, rich, well-drained soil and lots of room to spread out.

Light: Full sun

Height: 3 to 20 feet

Spread: 3 to 5 feet

Blooms: summer and fall

Lupine

Lupine produces large, pea-like flowers clustered in long spikes on sturdy stems.

They create gorgeous blooms in vivid shades of white, pink and blue that draw the eye skyward in the garden.

Bicolor Russell hybrids are the most popular type on the list of perennials, but there are other varieties as well.

Lupine prefers light, well-drained soil that’s slightly acidic and cooler temperatures.

Light: full sun, partial sun

Height: 1 to 3 feet

Spread: 1 to 2 feet

Blooms: summer

Painted Daisy

Painted daisies are great in all types of garden settings. They work well in woodland gardens, rock gardens and areas around shrubs and trees.

Finely cut leaves and brilliant blooms in a variety of colors make them easy to place in the landscape.

Painted daisies create a natural look that’s reminiscent of old-fashioned English gardens with winding pathways and lots of trees.

Light: full sun, partial sun

Height: 6 inches to 3 feet

Spread: 8 to 18 inches

Blooms: summer and fall

How to Rejuvenate Shrubs

Summer is here at last. Gone are the short, dark days of winter. It’s the time of year to enjoy the outdoors. New growth on trees and shrubs provide color and beauty to yards and gardens all over the world. It takes a lot of time and planning to maintain your yard, year after year. Shrubs and trees, with flowers and fruit, add character to a property, creating a peaceful retreat during warm weather months. It’s important to rejuvenate old shrubs, allowing them to continually provide an aesthetically pleasing outdoor environment for your garden.

What is the Right Time to Rejuvenate Shrubs?

Caring for shrubs on a regular basis is essential for healthy plants to thrive. Spring is the perfect time to examine the health of landscape shrubs. Mature shrubs, if not maintained properly, can quickly become overgrown and wild. Shrubs originally planted to provide tranquil surroundings, shade, or privacy, may no longer flourish.

Additionally, overgrown, unsightly shrubs may block walkways and paths. Shrubs may have life left in them, even when they appear tattered. Busy home owners often do not have the time to properly care for shrubs, and many turn to a professional landscape company for help to rejuvenate old shrubs. Removing and replacing old shrubs is definitely an option, especially if they are dead or diseased. However, rejuvenating old shrubs, if feasible, is a better, and often more cost efficient option.

It’s crucial to rejuvenate old shrubs at the right time, limiting damage during the pruning process. Pruning shrubs, or cutting them back, at the wrong time can impact flower production and foliage growth. Any shrub marked for rejuvenation, due to severe damage or dead growth, should be worked on in early spring, before new growth appears.

Most trees and shrubs are dormant in late winter and early spring. This is the perfect time to prune a shrub that blooms in the summer or fall, such as a butterfly bush, caryoptens, and rose of sharon.

Flowering shrubs and trees, including azaleas, lilacs, roses, and rhododendrons, should be rejuvenated after their blooms begin to die off. Their growth and blooms are from the previous year. Depending upon the flowering shrub, the pruning may be done during the spring or summer.

Methods of Rejuvenating Shrubs

To rejuvenate very old shrubs with large areas of dead growth, you may need to hard prune the shrubs. This will leave a stub just 6 – 12 inches above the ground. Hard prune shrubs in spring before buds open, using a long-handled pruner. Because heavy pruning is stressful on shrubs, they will require a lot of attention for the first year or two. Ensure that the shrubs are watered well and continually examine them for disease and pests. A landscape company can assist you with organic fertilizer options for your shrubs and soil, that support new growth.

Diseased leaves and branches must also be removed from shrubs. Broken branches, leftover from the winter, can be pruned with a hand pruner or handsaw. Remove the oldest shoots from spring-blooming shrubs and trees, to promote new blooms next year. A pole saw with a rotating head works well for tall shrubs and trees. Regular pruning and maintenance of shrubs removes unattractive and unhealthy growth every year. Rejuvenating shrubs in this manner prevents overgrown, diseased, and dead shrubs.

When you rejuvenate shrubs, it’s critical not to stress the plant, weakening it. Removing all of the stems, branches, and leaves makes it more vulnerable to diseases and pests. A regular maintenance program, with the help of a professional landscape company, will keep your yard, and shrubs, healthy and attractive year-round.

How to Create Texture In Your Garden

Texture is what makes a planted garden look so great. By implementing a planting scheme with contrasting form, foliage and texture, one can create interest and dimension within the garden. Fortunately we are blessed with so many options to choose from nowadays.  In this article we’ll go over a few simple tips on how to create a texture look in your garden.

Why three is a a good number

Whilst even numbers create symmetry, odd numbers create interest. Plants that are grouped in threes or fives tend to make your eye move around the grouping; and ultimately the garden. You’ll notice that many landscape designers utilize this rule of design.

When a pattern is not a pattern

We like to think of planting design as creating a pattern that isn’t a pattern. Using the concept of grouping plants in threes, the aim is to create a pattern of alternating contrasting textures and tones.

Whilst alternating between textures from one grouping to another is a pattern, you also need to ensure the same pattern of plants is not repeated over and over again within a landscape design.

So now for some examples

Some of our favourite plants to group together to create texture in a garden design are:

  • Buxus Balls – round spheres with a green tone
  • Walking Iris – a strappy wide leaf plant create as a filler
  • Sanseveria trifasciata – upright blade like foliage
  • Agave Blue Glow – compact & spikey with beautiful greeny blue tones
  • Crassula Blue Bird – a medium sized shrub/succulent with amazing blue foliage
  • Raphiolepsis Oriental Pearl – a medium sized shrubs with a compact form
  • Strobilanthes gossipinus – a compact shrub with a beautiful grey tone
  • Salvia Santa Barbara – a prolific flowering compact shrub
  • Mexican Lily – a medium to large strappy plant with blue and green tones
  • Kalanchoe Silver Spoons – medium sized shrub/succulent with silver tones