Designing with Perennials
Perennials are the smaller plants in your garden that die back each winter and spring back to life the next year.
This month we are going to look at how you can put them together and how to make a combination of an interesting variety of shapes. (We will look at colour in a future article)
A good flower bed needs a blend of shapes and tones – otherwise it can look boring and ‘samey’. Below are some categorise that will help you see what could perhaps enrich your garden beds.
Froth- These are plants that have an abundance of small, light flowers like Gypsophila and Crambe cordifolia
Buttons- These flowers are bright dots of colours like Geum and Dianthus, Poppies and Alliums
Flats – The classic one is Achellia whose flower heads look like like saucers on a stem – A.Praprica is lovely
Sprays and Plumes – These plants soften up a planting scheme and relax the forms of the other plants and the overall look of the bed- grasses are the obvious choice as well as tall Crocosmia at the back of a border and tall, languid Bronze Fennel
Windows- These are plants that are so delicate and spacious that one can see through them to the other plants. Two examples are Stipa giganta and Verbena bonariensis (try ‘ V.b Lollypop’ if you don’t want too much height)
Spires and Spikes- these shapes are pretty much essential if you want variation of form –as well as Foxgloves and Acanthus you can think of Veronicastrum, Astilbes in moist soil or the smaller,the bushy spikes of Lavender and the bullet proof, bottle brush flowers of the Persicaria family.
Lattice- This is found in the strong lines of ferns
Lush- Here the leave is full and green and offsets the more woody qualities of some of the other plants in your borders eg Hostas, Day Lillies and Bergenias
Soft –Lamb’s Ears, French Lavender, Sage
Daisy shapes- These classic flower shapes are found in Asters and Heleniums- but work best in combination with the rest of the above- a whole garden of daisy shaped flowers would drive one mad.
Hopefully this will help you look at your borders afresh to see what extra instruments are needed in your orchestra.