Ev­ery gar­den should make the most of colour­ful peren­ni­als

Wicklow People (West Edition) - - ADVERTISIN­G FEATURE -

PEREN­NIAL plants are the life and soul of sum­mer borders. They are sim­ply packed with flow­ers which bring splashes of fresh and vi­brant colour to the gar­den. There are va­ri­eties which will flower in ev­ery sea­son, but now is the time many peren­ni­als are start­ing to look their most daz­zling best. If your bor­der lacks a bit of piz­zazz, then look no fur­ther than flouncy paeo­nias, spires of salvias and del­phini­ums, exotic Peru­vian lilies, pools of pink and blue hardy gera­ni­ums and many other peren­ni­als for an in­stant show of colour.

Peren­ni­als are plants that come back ev­ery year – so you can en­joy them in the gar­den for many years - some can even last for gen­er­a­tions! Al­most all of them will nat­u­rally die down for the win­ter months, but they come up even bet­ter again the fol­low­ing spring. There was a fashion for group­ing peren­ni­als to­gether in an herbaceous bor­der, but it’s far bet­ter to use them among shrubs, so that you main­tain a bit of struc­ture in the win­ter.

PLANT­ING FOR IM­PACT

The ver­sa­til­ity of peren­ni­als is some­thing that can be fully ex­ploited in the gar­den. You can find va­ri­eties that are suitable for ground cover, shady ar­eas, coastal gar­dens, and wet or dry soil. If like many gar­den­ers in the west of Ire­land, you have heavy wet soil or a damp area in the gar­den then peren­ni­als such as astilbes, hostas, arum lilies, ligu­lar­ias and rodger­sias will all lux­u­ri­ate. Ground cov­er­ing peren­ni­als are ex­tremely use­ful for keep­ing down weeds. Some of the best va­ri­eties for ground cover are ajuga, berge­nia, gera­nium and Per­si­caria affi­nis ‘Su­perba’, which will knit to­gether to form a dense car­pet. For the best ef­fect al­ways plant peren­ni­als in groups, us­ing 3-5 of the same va­ri­ety to­gether, or more if us­ing them for ground cover in a large area.

AF­TER­CARE

Very lit­tle af­ter­care is needed with most peren­ni­als, apart from cut­ting the old stems back in the win­ter. Ev­ery few years most of them will usu­ally ben­e­fit from be­ing dug up and di­vided, re­plant­ing strong pieces back into com­post-en­riched soil. Di­vid­ing keeps the plants vig­or­ous and means that they will flower even bet­ter af­ter­wards. It also means you can make a few ex­tra plants to re­plant around the gar­den or give to friends!

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