Now is the perfect time of year to think about adding new perennials to your garden.
First, take a look at your existing garden. Note the amount of sunlight, current soil conditions and exposure to wind. Most garden centres will categorize their perennials based on the amount of sunlight required (i.e. shade, semi-shade and well-lit locations).
When selecting new perennials, read the information tag, found on the plant, to determine how tall and wide you can expect the plant to eventually grow. Work from a master plan using the full-grown scale for your plants to allow for future growth.
Shopping for new perennials is a lot of fun. There are so many attractive and exciting perennials to choose from. With more and more unique varieties being added each year (flowers, foliages and grasses) there are a multitude of choices available to today’s Northern gardener.
As a general design rule, work with odd numbers. Smaller gardens should plant singles of each variety whereas larger gardens should work in quantities of three or five to maximize the visual impact of the plant.
Start by laying out your new plants within your existing garden. Taller plants are best situated at the back of the garden. Shorter perennials and groundcovers work well at the front of the garden and along edges.
To create visual interest throughout the summer months, spread out the blooming period of the perennials so that each area of the garden has a show of colour from spring through fall. You can also create interest in how you disperse the various flowers, foliages, grasses, colours and textures throughout the garden.
Many gardeners want to know what to do when perennials outgrow their existing locations and need to move to a new home. It’s only natural that they resist uprooting and moving to a new location. The success of transplanting perennials will be determined on how successful you are in protecting the root system surrounding the plant.
Plants can become sensitive to their new environment. Changes in lighting, soil conditions and moisture can greatly affect the plants’ ability to recover and avoid the shock of transplant.
You should avoid moving perennials and shrubs during the heat of summer and when they are in full bloom. Transplant well before the bloom period or once the flowering period is finished.
Perennials love to be planted with a slightly acidic hummus-rich soil combination. New perennials should be fertilized with a high phosphorous solution, all summer long, to actively promote root stimulation.
In the second year you can apply a slow release perennial garden fertilizer. Surrounding your perennial garden with mulch is a great way to reduce weed growth and help retain moisture in your garden.
It is always exciting to add new perennials to your garden. Each year I look for fresh, new varieties to help complement my existing garden. Gardening is an evolving process and one to be enjoyed season after season.