Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Gina's Favorite Perennials - Part 1

Every since writing about perennials, I've wanted to share some of my favorite perennial flowers, but I didn't know where to begin. Should I separate the shade lovers from the sun lovers? Should the summer bloomers be with the fall bloomers? I finally decided to pull out a few pictures, in complete randomness, and just share them, and stop stressing over it!

But first, my criteria for a favorite perennial.

I do not have time to coddle a plant. I have enough little persons that I have to keep fed and clothed, if a plant can't survive (and thrive) on neglect, it doesn't deserve a spot in my flower bed. I look for plants that are long blooming (all summer is far better then one week) hardy (in my zone 6) and easy care (no staking or spraying). Extra points are given to plants that are fragrant or are good cut flowers.

Before I was married I worked at a greenhouse and tried growing lots of different perennials. I still buy a couple new perennials every year just to try them out. Some are winners and join the ranks of favorites. Others fail for numerous reasons and don't deserve a place in the flower bed. Obviously, this is a hobby to me and something I think worth spending time (and a little money).

Many plants come in numerous varieties. If I have a favorite variety I will label it in quotation marks.

  •  Shasta Daisy "Becky"  
After trying many different daisies. This one is my favorite. It blooms for weeks in the summer. It never flops over or needs staking. And it is a great cut flower. It spreads well and I've given starts to many many friends over the years.

  •  Helopsis varigated
 There are numerous helopsis varieties but I like this one because of the interest that it's variegated foliage adds. Another long blooming flower that can be cut for bouquets.
  • Daylily 
 There is far too many good daylily varieties to describe here. Not a cut flower but a great addition to the summer flower bed.

  • Geranium cranesbill "Rozanne"
 This is not the typical annual red geranium that most are familiar with. The cranesbill geraniums are a hardy perennial with totally different growth habit. Lots of good varieties but "Rozanne" is my favorite of the ones I've grown because of it's color and long bloom time.
  • Echinacea "Magnus" purple coneflower
In recent years, many new coneflower varieties have been developed. I find that the newer ones are not quite as hardy for me as the old standard "Magnus".

To be continued...

In meantime, what is your favorite perennial?


  1. Very pretty!
    I do not have a green thumb when it comes to flowers.

  2. I like many of the same perennials you do! The ladies from my church have a perrenial exchange in the spring. I brought about 8 along home and it's so neat watching them all bloom. I recomend that to anyone who is trying to get flower beds's alot cheaper than going out to buy them all!

  3. I planted Rozanne last year, unfortunately it didn't come back this year.

    My favorite geranium is Johnson's blue. Blooms about a month or longer and is covered. One of my other favorites is salvia's. Long bloom times with deadheading. Unfortunately the bee's really like it too so it's a challenge to deadhead!

  4. I love daisies and purple coneflowers! You have beautiful plants :)

  5. Black eyed susans are a standby for me. They're so beautiful and spread like crazy! So I bought a couple a couple years ago, let them go and now am digging up the new ones and growing them all over the place.

    A new favorite for me is coreopsis. A ton of varieties and I haven't killed one of them yet. Pop the dead ones off and they just keep blooming away.

    For shade, of course there's hosta and giant sedums. They're both pretty hard to kill.

  6. I'm looking forward to your posts on perennials. I'm not much of a gardener; I like planting and letting them take off. I hope you have some easy growers for me :D

  7. Gina,

    Thanks so much for this post! I don't have much of a green thumb, but I see my neighbors' various perennials and have been wanting to plant some. (Most of my perennials are wildflowers I've transplanted. They are pretty and many of them have spread, but their blooming time is typically quite short. I like your criteria for perennials -- easy care and long blooming time -- and so I greatly appreciate your sharing of this information. Looking forward to Part 2!

  8. I don't have children but with mine and hubby's health we aren't always able to fuss over the garden. I do love my morning glories and they sure need no fuss!

  9. If you could see my flower bed, you would be convinced that my favorite perrenials are weeds! It has been so warm here, everything except my lantana is in bloom! I wasn't ready, especially since I don't know anything about having flowers. I am a city girl that has been moved to the country, and I am just trying to survive in my new life! :) We recently got chickens, too. Now I am trying to figure out how to keep the ants out of the yard without having it sprayed since the chickens have now discovered they can roam everywhere. I don't know if I want to eat the eggs from a chicken that has been eating from a yard sprayed with chemicals. Eww!

  10. Those are lovely! :)

    I have too many to list! Russian Sage are one of my favorites. I grow them next to Rudbeckia Cherry Brandy for balance and color :) Also a plus--they are Groundhog, rabbit and Deer proof! Campanula Birch Hybrid is probably my next favorite because they bloom all summer and you can hang them in nice iron baskets and they will last the winter (zone 6b) :)


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