Over the years she has grown thousands of different perennials, including a large collection of irises and peonies. Aside from publishing four books, including this year’s Book of Perennials, she runs her own perennial nursery. www. claireaustin-hardyplants. co. uk
Here are my top tips for getting your selection of perennials right
tall ones to grace the back of a border, with short, spreading types at the front. When perennials re-emerge in spring, they strive to reach their ultimate height and width within one growing season, so they’ll grow at different rates. Therefore, make sure you don’t plant tall-growing perennials in front of short ones if they bloom at the same time. However, you can play clever by positioning later-flowering, taller-growing perennials to camouflage earlier-blooming, shorter perennials as they die down.
2 How much light do plants get?
The amount of light available to a plant also restricts your choice. Standing where your plants are to grow, look at where the sun is. Most perennials need sun for a good proportion of the day, say from 10am to 4pm, but others, such as epimediums, hardy geraniums and trilliums, are natural woodlanders and love shady spots.
3 How tall and wide do you want plants to grow?
Perennials come in all shapes and sizes. Use
The perfect time to plan a new border or revive an old one is when the weather’s cold, the garden’s bare and its structure is easy to see. Perennials are a good place to start. Easy to grow, there are hundreds of plant shapes and flower colours to choose from – but selecting which ones to buy can be a daunting process. I recommend asking yourself six important questions:
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