Midsummer finds many perennials at their peak, so I recently took the opportunity to visit a nearby perennial garden. The garden belongs to BGC Staff member, Sharon Marrano, and has a few design examples that we all can learn from and apply to our own perennial gardens.
The white fence provides a clean backdrop showing off plantings on each side.
DESIGN TIP #1: Spread out.
Allow enough space for each type of perennial to do it's thing. Here, red monarda, yellow daylily, and almost-ready-to-bloom Russian sage, each have 2.5-3 feet of space to fill. Also notice the staggered height of the three plants.
DESIGN TIP #2: Vary flower form.
The flowers of the lily, allium, and phlox (in back) are all shades of pink. It works in this space because each variety has a different flower shape.
DESIGN TIP #3: Hide spent foliage.
Oriental and Asiatic lilies are lovely when in bloom, but once they are finished, the foliage left behind can be an eyesore. Here Sharon has planted interplanted ferns with the lilies to disguise the declining leaves and stems of the lilies.
DESIGN TIP #4: Vary leaf texture.
When pairing perennials in the garden, it's important to consider the leaf texture. If done well, the foliage will continue to be interesting long after the flowers are done blooming.
The coneflowers (on the right in the photo above) have a medium leaf texture. The bright green grass-like leaves of the daylily on the left provide good contrast.
To the left of the daylily is a large clump of tall sedum (shown below) bringing fall color as well as a round, fleshy leaf texture.
DESIGN TIP #5: Let plants intermingle.
Yellow yarrow and blue balloon flowers (above) make good partners coming from opposite sides of the color wheel. Instead of manicuring them into their own clumps, Sharon has allowed them to intermingle for a cottage garden look.
DESIGN TIP #6: Play with color.
The soft gray foliage of Russian sage makes a nice background for the pastel pink and yellow daylily (above).
Bold colors catch the eye in this grouping of red monarda, purple delphinium, and yellow coreopsis (below).
I'm off to the garden to move a few of my perennials.
Until next time, happy gardening!
- Tracy Hankwitz
Store Manager of
Burlington Garden Center
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