Old English gardens have a special charm. Many of these gardens use mainly perennial flowers to achieve a lush, colorful oasis reminiscent of days gone by. It is not difficult to get this look in the home garden.
Perennials are plants that are long lived, sometimes dying back in the winter before greening up again in summer. They flower year after year and form the backbone to the herbaceous border. Annuals can be planted amongst them to add extra color.
Perennial Flower Garden Design
- Draw a plan on graph paper and choose plants based on height and spread. Tall plants are planted at the back, going down to the smaller plants at the front of the garden.
- The flower bed should be at least two meters wide by four meters long.
- Consider the flower colors when planning the garden. Decide to have either bright hues or a pastel effect.
- Plan to plant groups of one plant together to form a swathe of color.
- Allow for the fully grown plant even if it will look sparse until the plants have grown. This can easily be overcome by adding annuals to fill in the gaps in the meantime.
- Check in garden catalogues for times of flowering, growth rate and height.
Preparing the Perennial Flower Garden Site
- The best time to plant a perennial garden is when the soil has warmed up in late spring.
- Choose a sheltered, sunny site.
- Use spray paint, string or an old garden hose to mark out the site.
- Remove all weeds. This can be done using a natural spray.
- Dig the area well and add compost and/or well rotted manure.
Some Popular Perennial Flowers to Grow.
Ground covers and low growing plants.
- Armeria – Thrift grows in dense, grassy cushions. The flowers come in a range of colors from white and pink to deep rose. They grow to a height of 10cm.
- Dianthus- There are several small growing dianthus, also called garden pinks. Dianthus deltoides grows to 15cm high and dianthus plumarius grows to 30cm.
- Geum – These have a long flowering period, from late spring until early autumn and in frost free areas can flower all year round. They come in red, yellow and orange hues and grow to 30cm
- Saxifraga – The saxifrige grows in mossy clumps with pink flowers above. They grow from 15cm to 25cm depending on variety.
- Stachys Byzantina – the well known lambs ears, so named because of the silver, downy leaves. They make a good ground cover growing to 30cm. Pink flowers form in summer.
Mid and large sized flowering perennials.
- Achilla – attractive ferny foliage with flowers that range from white, yellow and rose. They grow from 60cm to 1.2 meters.
- Aster – Daisy like flowers produced in late summer and autumn. They are available in all shades and different heights from 75cm up to 1.2 meters tall.
- Campanula – The bell flower has bell shaped flowers in hues of blue. Growing from 30cm up to 1meter.
- Heliopsis – Yellow gold flowers in abundance over summer. Grows up to 1 meter tall.
- Salvia – there is such a large variety of salvia plants that it is difficult to choose. There are specialist nurseries growing this useful flowering plant. Available in all colors, even a very dark, almost black salvia ( salvia discolor). They range in size from 30cm up to 2 meters.
Maintaining the Perennial Flower Garden.
- Water and weed the garden regularly.
- Keep pests away with natural products.
- Stake tall perennials if required.
- Pick flowers often to encourage new flower growth.
- At the end of summer cut back old growth and tidy the garden.
Plan the perennial flower garden , prepare well and plant the right plants to achieve an old fashioned herbaceous border to be proud of.