Tried and true perennials

Now that spring is almost here, most of us find ourselves making frequent trips to garden centers, whether to browse, buy or just be on the bandwagon. In all fairness, I think we deserve the pleasure after being cooped up inside during winter months, especially this winter which doesn’t seem to want to go away.

Aside from wanting a relief from winter doldrums or the spring fever bug bite, one reason I like to go to garden centers is to educate myself about the features of plants I am interested in growing. With so many choices available these days, temptations are endless; however, when space, not to mention energy, is limited, it makes sense to get to know the plants which will suit one’s needs.

While variety indeed is spice of life, which is why most gardeners including me, like to or would like to, have a balanced landscape, but, as far back as I can remember, I’ve always had a special fondness for perennials, which brings the subject of selecting the right ones. One of the first things that comes to my mind is to exchange notes with fellow gardeners or see what’s growing in their garden; this way, one can be fairly sure of success, depending of course on factors such as light, shade and soil conditions.

Another great resource is checking out the award winners of the Perennial Plant Association: each year, the Perennial Plant Association selects a perennial to be named the Perennial Plant of the Year based on a plants’ merits and overall performance. Personally, I find it very reassuring to have such valuable information readily available to gardeners; needless to say, invariably I look for the current years’ winner, or for that matter the past winners as well, on one of those innumerable trips to garden centers. So, for the benefit of others who prefer to go the “tried and true” way also, listed below, in chronological order, are some of the recent perennials which have been found worthy of being named the Perennial Plant of the Year:

  • 2007 - Walker’s Low catmint  
  • 2008 - Geranium ‘Rozanne’
  • 2009 - Aureola Japanese Forest Grass
  • 2010 - Baptisia australis
  • 2011 - Amsonia hubrichtii
  • 2012 - Brunerra macrophylla ‘Jack Frost’
  • 2013 - Variegated Solomon’s seal
  • 2014 - Panicum virgatum ‘Northwind’

Happy Gardening!

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