Labour-Saving Perennials

The two figures after each plant’s name give its approximate height and spread when mature.

Late Spring and Early Summer

Alyssum saxatile – Rock Madwort

25x30cm (10inx1ft)

This is a perennial relation of the popular annual white alyssum. It is normally grown in the rock garden but also makes a useful subject for the front of a border. It bears masses of golden-yellow flowers from April to June.

Soil – any. Sun.

Aquilegia – Columbine

60x30cm (2x1ft)

The bonnet-shaped flowers of these attractive perennials are perfectly complemented by the masses of finely-cut ferny foliage. ‘Crimson Star’ is a fine cultivar, with long-spurred crimson and white flowers in May and June. Soil – any. Sun.

Brunnera macrophylla – Giant Forget-me-not

45x45cm (1-1/2×1-1/2ft)

The popular name aptly describes the sprays of large blue flowers borne by this handsome border plant. The flowers are borne on 45 cm (l-1/2ft) stems in April and May.

Soil – any

Sun or part shade

Convallaria majalis – Lily-of-the-Valley

25 cm (10 in) spreading

A deservedly popular perennial for the shadier parts of the border. It spreads rapidly, given suitable condi tions of moisture and shade. Flowers appear in late May and early June.

Dicentra spectabilis – Bleeding Heart

60x45cm (2×1-1/2ft)

Rose-red, locket-shaped flowers dangle from arching stems above finely cut foliage in late spring and early summer.

Soil – well-drained

Sun or part shade

Helleborus Hellebore

Up to 60x60cm (2x2ft)

The various species of hellebore include the Christmas Rose, Helleborus niger and the Lenten Rose, H. orientalis. These will provide colour in the border from December to the end of March. The most outstanding species, however, is H. corsicus with striking coarsely-toothed blueish foliage and huge clusters of apple-green flowers in February. Soil – moist, rich loam Sun or part shade

Iberis sempervirens – Perennial Candytuft

20 x 20cm (8x8in)

This is mostly seen in the rock garden but is equally attractive at the edge of a border. It produces its flat heads of pure white flowers from late spring to early summer.

Soil – any


Iris germanica – Flag Iris (and other bearded irises)

Up to 1 m (3 ft)

These irises make a beautiful display in late spring, compensating for their rather short flowering season by their beauty of form and brilliant colouring. They are extremely hardy and will thrive in most types of soil. Popular cultivars include ‘Aline’, sky-blue; ‘Black Swan’, black with a brown-tipped beard; ‘Cliffs of Dover’, white; ‘Chinese Coral’, pinkish-orange; ‘Olympic Torch’, golden bronze; ‘Staten Island’, mahogany and yellow; and ‘White City’, white. A suitable choice of varieties will pro vide flowers from late May to July.

Soil – well-drained


Meconopsis betonicifolia – Blue Poppy

1 m (3 ft)

The blue poppy-like flowers with striking golden stamens are borne throughout June. Soil – lime-free, moist Part shade.

Pulmonaria – Lungwort

30 x 30cm (1 x 1 ft)

Useful semi-evergreen perennials for the front of the border. Pulmonaria angustifolia has narrow leaves and gentian-blue flowers; P. saccharata (Bethlehem Sage) has deep green leaves mottled with white. Its pink flowers turn blue as they mature. ‘Mrs. Moon’ and ‘Pink Dawn’ are improvements on the type. Both species make good ground cover; they flower in April and May. Soil – any. Part or full shade.

Pulsatilla vulgaris – Pasque Flower

20 x 30 cm (8 inx 1 ft)

Formerly known as Anemone Pulsatilla, this charming little plant has pendent, purple, bell-shaped flowers covered with a silvery down, followed by attractive silken seedheads. It flowers in May and June. Soil – any. Sun.

27. February 2012 by Dave Pinkney
Categories: Gardening Ideas, Time Saving | Tags: , , , | Comments Off on Labour-Saving Perennials


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