Perfect Perennials

The time of year has arrived again when the perennial planting frenzy starts. I have hundreds of plants to get in this month for gardens that were built over the winter. It has been a rather cold spring so the newly potted plants aren’t exactly romping away but with a bit of warmth and good compost they will soon get going.

One of my suppliers asked for a list of my regular favourites so he could have them in stock if required, so this got me thinking as to my desert island list of perennials. There are so many to choose from but there are definite stalwarts that I always return to and in some ways these choices define my planting style.

Here are a few good eggs (in no particular order) which always seem to crop up in my planting schemes.

Salvia Caradonna – I love its vertical spikes and rich purple colour and it will produce new side spikes if cut back as the flowers fade.

Anemone Honorine Jobert – a lovely pure white and a good choice for a shady spot and late summer flowers.

Geranium Rozanne – this has become a firm favourite with most gardeners due to its long flowering season.

Sidalcea Brilliant – I love the vibrant pink of this variety and it gives a strong vertical in the border.

Geranium sanguineum Elke – a small plant, good for edging with lovely pink flowers which keep going all summer.

Echinacea – any variety or colour will do depending on the specifics of the design. I just love the strong shape and central cone.

Hemerocallis Summer Wine – a really dusky colour, much nicer than some of the garish varieties.

Nepeta Walker’s Low – nepetas are perfect for softening pathways and this variety doesn’t get too big.

Knautia macedonica – such a lovely deep cerise colour with endless flowering potential.

Achillea – so many colours to choose from depending on the garden’s colour scheme. Essential flowers to give a horizontal contrast to the spikes.

Digitalis – again a vast array to choose from but I do love the baby pink of Sutton’s Apricot.

Penstemon Heavenly Blue – this has such an intense colour and looks fabulous with pink roses.

Astrantia Roma – this variety is a lovely rich pink and it doesn’t get too large like some of the other varieties. Can cope with all manner of sites and situations.

Persicaria bistorta Superba – a lovely bottle brush flower on plants that thrive in moist ground.

Aquilegia – many colours to choose from. They provide good early colour and I like the way they self seed around the garden.

Aconitum Arendsii – a tall monkshood with deep blue flowers. Very useful for shady spots that need height and colour.

There are probably many more but these are the ones that instantly spring to mind. Another wish list would be for plants that I would like in certain colours but they don’t exist – for example a pretty pink or purple helenium would be good but that will only be in some surreal wonderland……….