The Secrets of Building a Great Perennial Garden
I have a friend who has a fantastic perennial border, and I get so many emails about how to build one, I asked if I could borrow some pictures of hers, and discuss it with her.
Her top piece of advice is this: Make sure the soil and sun are good (full sun), and most important, start with the most popular border perennials to give you a “good framework of bloom all summer.” Also, don’t skimp. Put in several of the foolproof favorites, not just one of each. She insists just a few of the right plants will give you a good show, and you can add any particular colors or heights as you refine your garden over the years.
Here is her list of “must-haves:”
- Bearded or Siberian Iris for early dependable color.
- Rudbeckia (or Black-eyed Susan) for bright, mid-summer bloom
- Phlox for bloom almost all summer long
- Echinacea for late summer color
- Lilies, the easy way to add foolproof accents for midsummer.
- Mums for fall. (They’re perennial, but my friend buys news ones most years.)
Beautiful Iris (Bearded or Siberian) are always available for early spring bloom. After bloom, they make a great low row of handsome foliage at the front of a border. She grows her Echinacea from seed, and once they’re blooming, you have them forever. Rudbeckia can be annual or perennial, seed or plants. Phlox, the real backbone of most perennial color, means perennial plants, and there are hundreds to choose from each year, and they multiply quickly.