From dianthus to cosmos, there's a lot to like about perennial blooms.
Over the past decade I have witnessed a decreasing number of perennial flowering plants appearing in gardens. Whether it's because people don't know about them or the fact that growers don't propagate them as much anymore is hard to tell but gardeners should seek them out as they make our gardens far more interesting and give flowers all year round.
A perennial is a long-lived plant that has no permanent woody growth above the ground. Perennials' life spans will vary anything from three years to 20 years or more, depending on the species. Annuals die after a long flowering period when they produce seed.
Most perennials will have a dormant period where it appears that they have died off but they are simply resting. New growth will emerge after about four to six weeks.
The other great aspect about perennials is that they can be grown by division in autumn.
My favourite flowering perennials are the salvias, but they need their own page!
Try these other favourites:
Also known as yarrow, it comes in a variety of colours and makes a hardy and useful, lacy ground cover with tall, flowering stems that attract butterflies.
A tough cookie with red, pink or white flowers that will creep along the garden and pop up in seemingly hostile places.
Coreopsis has bright-yellow flowers that are in profusion for about six months. This plant requires full sun.
Try to get the chocolate cosmos; the kids will love it as the dark-brown flowers really do smell like chocolate.
Also known as pinks, the flowers smell like nutmeg and the frilled blooms are great in a vase.
Dianthus and yarrow were used as medicinal herbs dating back hundreds of years, and were an essential plant in medieval herb gardens.