Monday, August 2, 2010

Favorite Perennials - Part 2

You may also enjoy, favorite perennials - part one.

This year has separated the great plants from the merely good ones! Any perennial that can withstand the drought we are experiencing this year is something special.

I know you are probably tired of hearing about our drought but now I'm even hearing the old timers say that it is the worse year they can remember. Since the first week of June, we have received LESS then 1 1/2 inches of rain. The few brief showers we've received, dried up rapidly with the high heat we've experienced.

I've watered our vegetable garden some but the flower beds have had to fend for themselves. Tonight I walked around the yard and took a few photos of some favorite flowers that are actually, not only surviving, but managing to bloom. Their foliage is yellowed and I wouldn't describe them as lush and thriving. You'll notice that most of these photos are close shots since I didn't think you'd like to see the brown drabness of the rest of the yard!

  • Aster "Monch" 
This was a new plant for me last year. I was astounded by it's non-stop blooming from May to October. It withstood our hard winter and is now blooming throughout our heat! I call it a winner!

  • Caryopteris (bluebeard)
 I always wonder why this plant is not more well known. It blooms late in the season, when the rest of the garden is flagging and is the soft blue color that rare in perennials. The plant is almost more of a woody shrub but it's small size fits well in a perennials border.

  • Plumbago (ceratostigma)
Are these plants unknown because of their strange names - or have unusual names because they are unknown? This is another plant that could use some publicity. A ground cover, plumbago appears late in the spring. I have to be careful that I don't hoe it up in the spring cleaning. It makes the perfect combination with bulbs because plumbago's late arriving foliage will hide the bulbs dying leaves. I have this plant growing in the rocks at the end of my driveway in burning sun. I've given it absolutely no care, yet it's flowers cheer me every time I pull in the driveway.  This is a true blue flower, not the lavender blue of most "blue" flowers.

  • Catmint "Six Hills Giant" (nepta)
Another forgiving plant, I planted catmint in the stones next to our woodshed. It has thrived and spread, attracting bees and butterflies to our garden. Because of it's low habit, it is great for planting at the feet of taller perennials like climbing roses. It blooms in the spring. I trimmed it back after it finished blooming and it just set on a new flush of blooms - all with next to no water. Amazing!

  • Russian Sage (perovskia)
I didn't plan to share all lavender/blue flowers but that seems to be the trend. This tall perennial adds an airy lavender touch to the bed. Mine combines great with some roses and tall pink phlox. And this is yet another drought tolerate non-fussy plant!

I'd love to hear your success stories with drought tolerate perennials!

Linked at Tuesday Garden Party


  1. I tend toward the blue flowers as well. I have both the catmint and the plumbego, oh, and sage, too! Try lavender. It's drought tolerant and smells heavenly! The bees love it, but they are so happy they leave us alone. And the deer will only eat it if they are desperate. I know it's hard to imagine watering, but where we live, we would have almost NOTHING without watering. Our total each year is only around 10 - 11 inches. (That's not a typo - that's per YEAR!). Sometimes you just have to water a bit.

  2. I have highlighted a few of my drought tolerant plants on my blog: Russian Sage, Butterfly bush, and Hollyhocks. We live in the high dessert, so my plants also need to be able to withstand subzero winters.

    I enjoyed looking at your flowers, I already have made arrangement to swap some of my cutting for some of her catmint. I will have to see if any of the other flowers will work in my area.

  3. Beautiful blues and purples! Thanks for sharing!

  4. Wow - here we're drowning in record rainfall with bridges and roads washed away and you're in a drought. I'd be more than happy to share! Wish I could pack it up and send it your way!

  5. I'm going to look for that aster this fall- I've been wanting one and now you've convinced me. ;-)

    Sadly, I can't grow Russian sage or plumbago- we routinely get little rain the months of July and August and the plumbago didn't make it last year. The sage? Won't grow more than a foot for me in the couple places I've tried it. Ugh.

    Thanks for sharing at the TGP!


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