Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Backbone of the Garden: Which Perennials?

There's a new Poll on the sidebar with a large number of perennials, not nearly all. I tried to include those which grow in the largest number of US zones and around the world. I'm almost sure I left off your very favorite. You can tell us here. Please be sure to note your zone and location. Perennials for the PNW zone 8 act very differently in desert southwest zone 8 and my lower south zone 8.

Some perennial pics in my garden from the previous year, not on the list:
Stokesia, a native plant. It died back in Atlanta, stays green all winter here.

Ratibida, or Mexican Hats. I thought these were an annual, but there are clumps in front which stayed green all winter. Depending on their companions, I might like the yellow or the maroon better.

Kniphofia also stayed green all winter.


I have many cuttings rooting of Salvia farinacea, grown last year from seed. I can't  wait to place them.

What are your perennial plans, come Spring?


  1. I'll be making many more cuttings of Russian sage, salvias, caryopteris (more of a shrub), and anything else I can! Russian sage is a very prominent one in my garden. I'm working on installing a mass planting of it on a hillside. I hope the Salvia farinacea comes back this year but I'm very doubtful - its borderline at best and it's been very cold this year.

  2. Don't have perennial gardens anymore. They didn't pay the rent. Instead I've kept tough perennials. (hosta, helleborus, ferns, echinacea, iris, daylily, phlox, thyme, rudbeckia, biennials too)

    They are threaded throughout flowering shrubs/groundcovers/trees.

    Garden & Be Well, XO Tara

  3. Well, we can't grow most of those down in my part of Florida, but you did have my favorites on the list: daylilies!!! and blanketflowers!!!

  4. Almost all the outdoor plants we have here (zone 5b Iowa) are plants we inherited with the "new" (as of last May) house; I bought stuff to plant but then couldn't figure out where I wanted most of it, in the chaos last summer. That said, I'm pretty happy that we inherited some lily of the valley, and I bought and planted two Pulmonaria 'Raspberry Splash' that I became very fond of too. One or the other of those is probably my favorite perennial.

  5. I clicked on almost every single plant in your poll. There's no way I could pick a favorite.

    Is that a rose behind the Kniphofia?

  6. I just love perennials. Penstemon and Salvia are my favorites out in the garden.

  7. i actually have many plans for perennials this year. i've been researching native plants for our area for xeriscaping our backyard, and i've chosen a couple varieties of salvia, lantana, copper canyon daisies, ornamental grasses like mexican feathergrass and mondo, black-eyed susans as well as many native texas wildflowers.

  8. I just 'ticked' your perennials poll.

    Iris and Echinacea are hot favourites.

    I have to say that Nepeta was the biggest perennial revelation for me. It just has this ability to pull everything together.

  9. I'd like to try propagating our Salvia 'Purple Majesty' from cuttings this spring. I love salvias, but have never had one perform so well in the garden, and the bees are just dotty about it!

  10. Hi, I am waiting to see what survived the extreme weather...but I have some hardscape plans and evergreens that I want to add to give the garden more structure. I'll probably add more native plants like TN coneflower, baptisias, phloxes and others because they are so happy here. Loved the survey~gail

  11. This was a fun survey. The big favorite of mine that wasn't included is geranium. It may not grow in the right zones for you -- although, since it's such an enormous genus, there are varieties for zones 3 through 8. -Jean

  12. I have all but 7 of the perennials on your list. I don't have some of the more common ones like hosta (deer), asters (rabbits), hellebores (growing the shade for the future), peonies (keep putting those off).

    I reorganized a lot of my garden in the fall to better use the perennials that I do have. I'm adding more cannas and more salvia. Maybe another ginger.

    If my milkweed seeds come up, then I'll be set. If not, I'll add more milkweed for the Monarch butterflies as their overwintering place was hit hard and the numbers are reduced.

    I've ordered lots of annual seeds -- zinnia, marigold, cosmos, celosia, ageratum. Funds are tight this year for my garden since i had to build a French drain to save it.


  13. I have the blue salvia you had in the last picture. Love it! Hmm, you just remind me that I should take some cuttings now, so that I can spread them in other areas of my garden.

  14. Of course, plant collector that I am, I have all the perennials listed except 3!

    Each is a favorite in its own time.

    Probably the longest blooming would the the two salvia farinaceas that I have, Victoria and Blue Bedder. They self seed and come back from the root.

    We have had one of our coldest winters so don't know how they fared with that.

  15. You have a lovely garden, Nell Jean! Mexican Hats, so aptly named, have such a lovely shape and uniquely first time seeing these! Knophofia is so it a temperate plant, I've never seen this in our tropical country?

  16. HA, Nell Jean, I picked them all! It is too difficult to pick even just a few, let alone a favorite. Each season has its own faves. Probably the best all around four season plant would be the ornamental grasses though. :-)

  17. My favourite garden perrenial is 'toad lily'. They grow in such a nice clump, and have the neatest little flowers...they bloom in the fall here :)


I look forward to comments and questions and lively discussion of gardening and related ideas.

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