Peren­nial favourites

Pick peren­ni­als for their in­cred­i­ble range, diver­sity and year-af­ter-year stay­ing power.

NZ Gardener - 365 Days of Flowers - - Fragrant Flowers -

Peren­nial plants are ex­tremely ver­sa­tile and can be used on their own, en masse, or as fillers be­tween shrubs. Herba­ceous peren­ni­als, which die down over win­ter, are less work than an­nual flow­ers, as they re­turn each year in spring and grow larger as they ma­ture.


Gar­den car­na­tions, or pinks, ( Di­anthus caryophyl­lus) are short-lived peren­ni­als that grow up to 50cm tall. They have grey fo­liage, un­like the bright green leaves of sweet wil­liams, and boast a long flow­er­ing sea­son, on and off from early spring un­til the end of sum­mer.


Di­anthus caryophyl­lus is a late sum­mer peren­nial that can reach 60-120cm high. It comes in a wide range of colours, its blos­soms do­ing their best to im­i­tate those of the lilac. The stems of first year flow­er­ing plants may be short but they will grow taller in sub­se­quent years.


The starry blooms of hoyas are so per­fect they barely look real, but these trail­ing beau­ties are not dif­fi­cult to grow given light shade, a well-drained soil or, bet­ter still, the con­fine­ment of a pot. Hoya carnosa is the most pop­u­lar species grown out­side in milder ar­eas.


Few clema­tis are grown for their scent but some do stand out for their sweet per­fume. Many of the mon­tana va­ri­eties are scented, 'El­iz­a­beth' be­ing the most fra­grant of them all with its sweet vanilla bou­quet. Clema­tis mon­tana var. wilsonii is known for its choco­late scent. Clema­tis not only make beau­ti­ful bou­quets, they stay fresh for at least seven days, de­pend­ing on the va­ri­ety used. Many in the in­te­gri­fo­lia and viti­cella groups do well as cut flow­ers.


Long-stemmed sweet vi­o­lets ( Vi­ola odor­ata) are the per­fect flow­ers for posies. Bear­ing a gen­tle scent that's loved by all, vi­o­lets are per­fect for pick­ing and tak­ing as a gift when vis­it­ing. Grow vi­o­lets in the gar­den where they get a lit­tle sun­shine (but not too much of the dry­ing and fading af­ter­noon va­ri­ety), a soil rich in leaf mould or com­post (throw in some well-aged sheep ma­nure for good mea­sure), and water when dry to keep their roots cool and moist.

Treat your eyes and nose to a bou­quet of fra­grant blooms. Or make one to take to a friend or fam­ily mem­ber when vis­it­ing.


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