Perennial gardening has long been a favoured pastime for Yukon gardeners.
Now is the perfect time to take a good look at the perennials in your garden, decide which perennials to plant where, shuffle existing plants around your garden and fill in empty spaces with new favourite varieties.
Perennial gardens can look stunning, from early spring through to fall, by keeping in mind two concepts: try to plant blooming perennial varieties in varying stages of flowering.
Plan your garden to include early- to mid-spring, summer and fall flowering perennial varieties. The next concept to successful perennial gardening is to marry the season of blooming perennials with complementary varieties of attractive foliage.
Great choices for spring flowering perennials include ajuga (carpet bugle), aquilegia (columbine), armeria (thrift), artemisia (sage), aster, bellis (English daisy), bergenia, campanula (bellflower), cerastium (snow in summer), convallaria (lily of the valley), dicentra (bleeding heart), doronicum (leopard’s bane), euphorbia (cushion spurge), gentiana, hemerocallis (daylily), heuchera (coral bells), iris, lamiastrum, lamium, papaver (poppy), phlox, primula (auricula primrose), pulmonaria (lungwort), pulsatilla vulgaris (pasque flower), sedum (stonecrop), veronica (speedwell), vinca (periwinkle) and viola (johnny jump-up).
Following the spring perennials, summer flowering favourites include achillea (yarrow), alcea (hollyhock), allium (globe onion), chrysanthemum, clematis, delphinium, dianthus (pinks), echinacea (coneflower), gaillardia (blanket flower), hosta, iris, iberis (candytuft), lilium ( Asiatic lily), malva (musk mallow), paeonia, primula, sempervivum (hens and chicks) and sedum (stonecrop).
Late-summer perennials and favoured fall varieties include anenome, cimicifugia (black bugbane), digitalis (foxglove), echinops (globe thistle), erigeron (fleabane daisy), heliopsis (false sunflower), leucanthemum (shasta daisy), liatris and rudbeckia (coneflower).
To add interest to any landscape, try a combination of grasses, foliage and broad-leafed plants in an array of colour and texture. Create height and movement with micanthus (“silver banner” or “flame grass”).
For compact, mounding grass try festuca glacua (“Elijah blue”). In rockery gardens, a selection of low-growing sedum perennials offer natural succulent colours in shades of green to bronze, followed by prominent fall flowers.
For broad-leafed foliage, try planting hostas. In a wide range of colours and leaf sizes, these persistent perennials come in many shades and combinations of green and white.
One of my favourite foliage perennials is heuchera (coral bells). This hybrid plant offers the gardener an amazing new range of foliage colours.
From the golden, amber-orange leaves of heuchera (“amber waves”), to fuzzy, lime heuchera (“autumn bride”) and the old-fashioned green heuchera (“Northern fire”), coral bells perennials offer a multitude of colourful foliage.
The secret to successful perennial gardening is to offer continual visual interest in the garden, from the first of spring through to fall.
By carefully choosing varieties that begin their flowering season early, with those that flower throughout the season and into the fall, you will have a garden that begins and ends with delightful eye appeal.
Enjoy spending time in your garden this summer with beautiful planters and hanging baskets. With a little extra attention and careful selection you are sure to have blooming results.