Grow: Plants & Vegetables
It's easy to feel overwhelmed by the huge choice of perennials, so we've made a few best-bet suggestions, illustrating the important things to consider the next time you're at the nursery
Duration of bloom is an important consideration when shopping for perennials. And remember, you shouldn't be deterred by plants that aren't yet in bloom at the nursery. Although it didn't look like much during Michael's visit to Stonegate Farms, this 'Roxanne' geranium, for instance, will give a mass of bloom for three months during the summer season.
Allium senescens glaucum
Plants with textured foliage can add interest to your garden when not much else is in flower. This ornamental onion plant has long, very tactile leaves that work well as a border edger in front of darker-colored plants.
Like texture, interesting leaf color is another important consideration when choosing perennials. Most Artemisia is gray, but 'Oriental Limelight' is a new variegation with beautiful bright cream foliage that can light up even the darkest spaces.
Disease resistance is another attribute to look for. Most varieties of Phlox are vulnerable to powdery mildew (which looks like the plant has been sprinkled with ash). 'David,' a new variety of Phlox, and also the 2002 Perennial Plant of the Year, is resistant to mildew while still offering the same beautiful tall white blooms.
Sun and shade conditions are also important to bear in mind. 'Brunette,' a relatively new variety of cimicifuga, is a good choice for a shady spot. It grows to 2 or 3 feet with large flower stalks rising in the late summer and fragrant white blossoms. Dark purple foliage also adds interest.
'Souvenir d'Andre Chaudron'
Finally, there is size and massing to consider. As Michael says, making a dramatic statement with a certain kind of perennial can help set the tone for your entire perennial border. This catmint variety is a great choice for planting in mass. It has dense, pretty foliage and blooms with simple blue flowers around which you can plan a broad palette of other colors.
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This segment appears in show #2707.