This week, I thought we might look at some perennials that hold the Royal Horticultural Society’s Award of Garden Merit, just in time for summer. AGM holders, you might remember from last week’s column, are tested thoroughly by the RHS before the gong is bestowed upon them, so when shelling out for these plants you can be sure that you are giving your garden the best possible chance of reliable, healthy blooms.
Perennials are technically any plant that lives for several years – but in general garden terms we think of them as non-woody (or herbaceous ) plants which can be evergreen or deciduous. The evergreen ones will give you winter leaves and structure, and the deciduous ones die back every winter only to return each spring ready to sing, dance and flower their way through to autumn – in this writer’s opinion they are what really brings the magic to the summer garden and I think of most of mine as old friends, their season of hibernation making them even more precious when they return each spring to say hello. Here are five of my must-haves:
• Dahlia ‘Bishop of Llandaff’ – single crimson flowers over dark, daintily cut foliage – this dahlia’s been around for many decades but is still very hard to beat. Deadhead or cut for the house and ‘The Bishop’ will flower right through to the frosts of late autumn.
• Hylotelephium ‘Purple Emperor’ – formerly known as Sedum which is much easier to pronounce, its purple foliage and dusky pink flowers add depth and drama to planting schemes.
• Erysimum ‘Bowles’ Mauve’ – Evergreen, with silvery foliage and purple flowers non-stop for nine to ten months of the year, this flowers so hard it exhausts itself and might need replacing every few years, but nothing works harder in the border for you, and it’s brilliant for winter structure.
• Paeonia ‘Sarah Bernhardt’ – a herbaceous peony, it will need lots of room for a plant that flowers for a relatively short time in early summer, but oh what fabulous flowers while they last! Named after the famous Victorian actress.
• Anemone ‘Honorine Jobert’ – happy in shady spots with rather nondescript green foliage, this lady lights up September borders with snowy white flowers with golden centres.
Anne Byrne Garden Design provides easy to follow Garden Plans that you can implement right away or in stages. Anne’s design flair and passion for plants brings a touch of magic to gardens of all sizes.
Anne Byrne Garden Design – Creative Ideas – Practical Solutions – Stunning Gardens