I’ve noticed many garden centers have perennials on sale now. Perennials are great for bringing color and interest to your landscape with minimal upkeep. Follow the planting instructions and you’ll be rewarded with many years of beautiful flowers and foliage.
For those shady areas, Hostas are the greatest! Plant under trees and along fences and gangways; they’ll provide beautiful foliage and produce spiky flowers in mid-summer. They come back year after year and come in colors from deepest green to variegated cream. They will tolerate low water times but will need to be watered if they are in a very sunny spot. Some of mine get a good bit of morning sun and I need to water them in dry times. Another shady flowering perennial is the bleeding heart. Its plants reach about 2 feet and have the most precious dark pink heart-shaped flowers. Clip faded flowers to encourage more growth.
For full sun, it’s hard to beat Coneflowers. They come in a variety of colors and are very attractive to bees, butterflies, and other pollinators. In fact, the three sunny flowers we are talking about here all attract pollinators. This is very beneficial for our gardens and everyone else in the neighborhood. Catmint “Walkers Low” is long blooming with spiky purple blue flowers. After the first spring bloom, cut back by half to ensure plenty of blooms from summer to mid fall. Coreopsis has masses of pale, yellow flowers and is drought tolerant. The blooming season will be long with regular dead heading.
For fall color, nothing beats the old-fashioned Black-Eyed Susan. Like the name intimates, the flower has a raised dark brown center surrounded by golden petals. They will bloom from late summer to mid fall and give you copious blooms with deadheading. Plant together in a big mass for best effect.
I hope this encourages you to try some perennials. There are many varieties in many sizes and sun needs and you’re sure to find one that suits you and your landscape.
KATHLEEN WEAVER-ZECH & DEAN’S TEAM CHICAGO