Amateur gardeners tend to overlook the easiest type of garden to plant and that is the perennial flower garden. Although annual plants require minimal or no care at the end of the year, this doesn't mean that replanting the flower garden every year is easier than planting a perennial garden. Once the perennial garden is established, the gardening gets easier and the flower garden grows more beautiful.
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Select from the many types of perennial gardens -- a water garden, winding garden path, formal garden, perennial border or theme garden.
Choose a perennial garden over other gardens because perennials are easy to grow and are a good investment that comes back year after year.
Pick from a variety of perennials in different colours, heights, length of bloom and flowering season.
Expect a healthy perennial garden the second year after planting when the garden fills out.
Opt for easygoing day lilies in the perennial garden if you are a novice gardener instead of the fussy clematis. Anticipate replacing short-lived columbines after three to four years and having peony beds that last for decades.
Spend a lot of time designing the perennial flower garden. Plant the front, middle and back of the garden in sections. The front should have flowers 30 to 45 cm (12 to 18 inches) tall. The middle contains flowers 30 to 90 cm (1 to 3 feet) tall and the back row has perennials reaching 90 to 150 cm (3 to 5 feet).
Check the flower garden site for water, soil and light conditions. Choose flowers that grow in the available garden environment.
Layer the perennial flower garden with bulbs deep in the ground -- 25 cm (10 inches) or more -- and perennial seeds above the bulbs. Choose alternating bloom times and various flower types.
Limit the garden to two or three major colours. Design reds, oranges and yellows together and pinks, purples and blues. Use the various shades of green as colours too.
Add native perennial plants to the design. These plants prove well for the existing garden conditions and are easily accessible.
Combine perennial flowers with annuals, flowering shrubs like pink flowering almond, scented or peace roses, red sedum and other ground covers or climbing vines like orange trumpets for a colourful blend of textures and species.
Perennial garden design
Buy perennial flower plants as seed, plants, shoots, bulbs or root cuttings. Order from reputable catalogue sources or buy from a local nursery.
Prepare the garden bed according to the needs of the perennials to plant.
Make the first year perennial garden lush and full by planting in clumps of three or small groups of seven. Plant a lot of one type of plant instead of one each of many kinds of plants.
Keep colour combinations together when planted. Fill in spaces with green perennials like hostas, grasses or ferns.
Maintain the flower garden by mulching, watering and removing spent flower heads. By removing the spent blooms, the flowers will not spend energy creating seeds and they will bloom again. Perennials produce seeds at the end of the season.
Tips and warnings
- Experiment with various colour combinations and textures in the perennial flower garden.
- Move sensitive plants indoors for winter before returning to the outdoors after the last spring frost.