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Landscape Design

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Planting & Care of Perennials

Perennials, if selected and planted properly, are easy to grow and will liven and brighten up any landscape.  First, for best results, have a planting plan if you want to grow many varieties. 

Soil Preparation
  • Most perennials should be planted and transplanted in spring.   First, select a site that has good drainage and provides the amount of sun or shade needed, which will depend on the varieties you have selected.
  • Prepare a perennial bed by working up the soil at least 6" deep and adding enough ordinary good soil to raise the bed at least 4" above the original ground level.  The raised bed provides good drainage as perennials with "wet feet" will die in winter.
  • Next, apply a 2-3" layer of Sweet Peet and work deeply (at least 6") into soil


  • Plant and space perennials according to your plan.  If you buy potted plants, loosen the root system a little of the plant if it appears pot bound.
  • Mulch with about 1" of bark mulch or Sweet Peet, taking care to keep mulch away from crown of plant.
  • Finally, water in well and only when needed.  After 3-4 weeks, your plants should become established.  Additional fertilizer may be needed every 3-4 weeks if the plants appear sluggish.  Liquid fertilizer applicators that attach on the end of the hose are a fast, easy way to fertilize plants.
  • Removing old flowers and old flower stalks such as on Gaillardias and Delphiniums will mean more abundant flowers.  

After 3-4 weeks, your plants should become established.  Additional fertilizer
may be needed every 3-4 weeks if the plants appear sluggish.  A granular
fertilizer such as Plant-tone works well to fertilize your plants and is naturally
organic.  Plant-tone will need to be applied early spring and early summer.


Winter Protection

  • A well-drained soil is a must.
  • Pine boughs or a light covering of clean, weed-free straw applied in late fall will keep the plants from freezing and thawing.  Remove the coverings in early April.  

Other Uses
Perennials don't have to be enjoyed in a garden, although blooms all spring through fall are possible with the proper arrangements.  Borders of Hosta and Shasta Daisies or small groups of plants will brighten up the yard.Many species are good for fresh or dried flower arrangements. 

Perennial Selections

American Classics
These are the perennials that continue to impress year after year

Astilbe (False Spirea)
Coreopsis (Tickseed)
Dianthus (Pinks)
Dicentra (Bleeding Heart)
Echinacea (Coneflower)
Geranium (Cranesbill)
Hemerocallis (Daylily)
Heuchera (Coral Bells)
Lamium (Spotted Dead Nettle)
Lavandula (Lavender)
Leucanthemum (Shasta Daisy)
Nepeta (Catmint) 
Ornamental Grasses
Perovskia (Russain Sage)
Phlox paniculata (Garden Phlox)
Phlox subulata (Creeping Phlox)
Rudbeckia (Black-Eyed Susan)
Salvia (Meadow Sage)
Sedum (Stonecrop)
Veronica (Speedwell)

For Spring Bloom
Ajuga, Anemone, Aquilegia, Armeria, Aubretia, Aurinia, Baptisia, Bergenia, Brunnera, Campanula, Carex, Convallaria, Coreopsis, Corydalis, Dicentra, Epimedium, Euphorbia, Geranium, Helleborus, Heuchera, Iberis, Iris, Lamium, Myosotis, Paeonia, Papaver, Phlox subulata, Polygonatum, Primula, Pulmonaria, Tiarella, Vinca and Viola.

For Summer Bloom
Achillea, Aconitum, Alcea, Alchemilla, Anthemis, Aruncus, Asclepias, Astilbe, Buddleia, Campanula, Chelone, Clematis, Coreopsis, Crocosmia, Delphinium, Dianthus, Digitalis, Echinacea, Gaillardia, Gaura, Geranium, Gypsophila, Heliopsis, Hemerocallis, Heuchera, Hibiscus, Hosta, Iris, Lavandula, Leucanthemum, Liatris, Ligularia, Lobelia, Lupinus, Lysimachia, Malva, Monarda, Nepeta, Oenothera, Ornamental Grass, Paeonia, Penstemon, Perovskia, Phlox paniculata, Platycodon, Polemonium, Rudbeckia, Salvia, Scabiosa, Sedum, Stokesia, Tanacetum, Thalictrum, Thymus, Tradescantia, Verbascum, Veronica and Yucca.

For Fall Bloom or Colorful Foliage
Ampelopsis, Amsonia, Artemisia, Aster, Belamcanda, Bergenia, Buddleia, Caryopteris, Ceratostigma, Clematis paniculata or ternifolia, Cimicifuga, Garden Mum, Eupatorium, Ferns, Heuchera, Japanese Anemone, Liriope, Ornamental Grass, Polygonum, Sempervivum, Stachys, Tiarella, Tricyrtis and upright Sedum.

Perennial Plant Association Plant of the Year Winners
1991  Heuchera m 'Palace Purple'
1992  Coreopsis 'Moonbeam'
1993  Veronica 'Sunny Border Blue'
1994  Astilbe s. 'Sprite'
1995  Perovskia atriplicifolia
1996  Penstemon d. 'Husker Red'
1997  Salvia 'May Night'
1998  Echinacea p. 'Magnus'
1999  Rudbeckia 'Goldsturm'
2000  Scabiosa 'Butterfly Blue'
2001  Calamagrostis a. 'Karl Foerster'
2002  Phlox p. 'David'
2003  Leucanthemum 'Becky'
2004  Athyrium niponicum 'Pictum'
2005  Helleborus x hybridus
2006  Dianthus g. 'Firewitch'
2007  Nepeta 'Walker's Low'
2008  Geranium 'Rozanne'



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