|Perennials in the garden|
|Saturday, 22 January 2011 11:00|
Perennials are plants that take at least two seasons to reach their maturity. Fine texture and harmony of colors, leaves and flowers that will attract glances for months is quickly created on the planted area if we make a good selection of these plants. We can plant them as single, solitaire plants, group them in floral borders or flower beds, or plant them amongst shrubs, annuals and perennials in mixed flower beds. Perennials' exact definition is that they are plants that live for two or more years, and as grown, fully developed plants, they blossom every year. Perennials are probably the most diverse group of plants showing a great variety in shape, form, texture and scent, conditioning thus their selection during planting and designing the areas where we would like to put them. Perennials differ a great deal in height as well. That way, there are perennials which are clambering plants, and we use them as a soil cover, and the plant species differ all the way to very high-in-growth varieties that can reach more than 2,5 meters (Rheum plamatum – rhubarb). Perennials with distinctly colored leaves can bring the contract in the dominant viridescence of the surrounding plants, emphasizing thus the structural form of other plants. The possible choice is, for example, shiny, dark green leaves of acanthus, purple leaves of certain hybrids of sceletium tortiosum (kanna), colorful leaves of hosta cultivars or silver leaves of Onopordum (decorative thistle), Stachysa or Senecia. Some unusually formed perennials or those with unusual leaf or flower texture can be used as the attention attracting element, or as the main plants in a particular part of the garden. The same way, perennials' flowers vary a great deal in color, shape, size and form, enabling thus gardeners with endless possibilities of contrasting, complementary or monochrome planting of the plants. Similarly, good grouping of blossoming perennials, according to their floral shape, can make interesting forms and structures, for example peltate, horizontal blossoms of Achillea millefolium, and tall pointed blossoms of lupinus. Popular fragrant perennials are also the indispensable garden element, attracting bees and butterflies, and including species like some varieties of Clematis, Hemerocalis, Nicotiana, Phlox and Verbena.
Very resistant, evegreen plant from the Cruciferae family, which blooms in late spring and early summer. It is grown due to its white or yellow, dense inflorescences of small flowers that are often fragrant. It is suitable for growing in rockeries, stone walls or in front of the mixed flower border. The best suited for it is average fertile, well drained soil and sunny position. After blooming the plant should be slightly undercut to maintain a compact layout of the plant. It is multiplied with seeds in the autumn (cold, protected beams) or with green cuttings in the spring or early summer.
Aubreta / Aubrieta
Evergreen, low perennial from a family Agaricaceae that covers the ground like a pillow or a carpet. We use it also as a ground cover on sunny positions. It is suitable for planting in rockeries. It blooms very profusely in the spring, with flowers in pink, red, purple or violet color. It likes moderately fertile, well drained soil, with neutral or alkaline reaction. After blooming flower branches should be cut in order to keep the plants compact. It is multiplied by seeds in the fall and spring or cuttings in early or mid-summer. Dividing the plant in the fall gives less success than multiplying by cuttings in the summer.
Aquilegia / Columbine
Columbine is a perennial from the Ranunculaceae family or Ranunculus, and we grow it for its beautiful bell shaped flowers. Today there are many hybrids with a large variety of shapes and colors of flowers. Some lower species are suitable for planting in the rockery, and they look for a well drained soil (A. Jonessi, A. Saximontana), while others, higher in growth look very attractive in flower beds, flower borders or in the woods. They require fertile, well drained soil and sunny or semi-shady location. We multiply them by sowing seeds in a cold soil as soon as seeds are ready, or in the spring time. They even multiply themselves on the spots where they grow. For alpine species' seeds it takes up to two years to start growing. We can also multiply them by dividing grown plants in the spring, which should be done very carefully, as these plants recover very slowly if we damage their roots. Depending on the species they grow from 10 (A. flabellata var. Pumila) - 90 cm (A. longissima) in height.
Dicentra / Small hearts
This interesting plant with hanging flowers resembling small hearts was common and favorite plant in the gardens of our grandmothers, and because of its romantic look today, it is often planted in gardens. This perennial is one of the family Papaveraceae, and depending on the country, underground we find a rhizom or a bulb. The flowers also depends on the type, and can be white (D. spectabilis f. alba), pink (D. spectabilis), burgundy, purple, or yellow (D. Scandens – climbing species that may have rosy or purple flowers). Plants, depending on the type grow from 30 to 150 cm in height. They grow well in the humid, fertile soil, rich in humus, neutral to alkaline reaction, and in the light semi-shadow. Some species are suitable for planting in the woods or in flower borders, and smaller species are suitable for planting in rockeries or alpinariums. As a perennial it is very suitable to grow in the garden, as it can stay on the same place for more than a decade. It will grow well even in a larger pot. It is multiplied by dividing rhizomes, early March is the best time, before the shoots start coming out, so that each part has a visible shoot on it. Make sure that you do not plant rhizomes too deep during planting, as the plant might not bloom then.
Evergreen semi-shrub from the family Cruciferae, with height up to 30 cm, with dark green leaves and white flowers gathered in blossom. It is very resistant to low winter temperatures, and it grows in average fertile, moist, well drained soil, neutral to alkaline reaction. It is suitable for planting in a rockery and stone walls. It looks for a sunny position, and after blooming we should cut it to maintain a compact appearance. We multiply it with seeds or cuttings in the late spring or summer.
Very resistant perennial from the family Rosaceae, which makes pillow-like, low shrubs that bloom from late spring to late summer, beautiful flowers , brick-red in color, or yellow, cream, orange, pink or red. Depending on the type of the plant, it grows in height from 15 to 60 cm. It is multiplied by seed or by dividing the plants in the autumn or spring. It likes fertile, well drained soil and sunny position. It does not like a lot of moisture in the winter. The picture shows G. Coccineum with brick-red flowers and numerous yellow stamens in the middle of the flower.
Centaurea / Knapweed
The picture shows a species C. montana, a perennial from the conflower genus, that seeks for well drained, moist soil, and is suitable for planting in the rockery. It grows in height up to 45 cm, and it is multiplied by the rhizome division in winter or by seeding in late summer. Other species of this genus that are sensitive to cold are grown as annuals and are sown in early spring in cold, protected area / beams. All species of this genus are attractive to bees and butterflies.
Phlox / Pennant
Perennials of cushion-like forms of low mountain Phlox (family Polemoniaceae), with its beautiful tiny flowers that bloom in spring and evergreen leaves are very decorative for the garden throughout the year. For the growth they need high fertile, well drained soil and sunny position, as opposed to Phlox species that are higher in growth and require a fertile soil and partially shady position. They multiply in spring, by cuttings strips that do not bear flowers. They can also be separated from the mother plants by dividing rooted parts of the clambering stalk, and that should be done in spring or early in the fall.
Iris barbata / Iris barbata
Iris barbata is bearded Iris with underground rhizom (family Iridaceae). There are not many perennials of these genus that are so decorative and so easy to grow. Today there are many varieties with flower stems over 150 cm long, and with very large flowers in different colors. They bloom from late April to June. Each active rhizome grows several new shoots each year and in that way this plant spreads very quickly. For good growth, as they can grow for many years in the same spot, they need fertile, well drained, neutral to slightly acidic soil and plenty of sun. They multiply by dividing the rhizome, from mid-summer to early autumn.