Ah July! Now is the time of year when all your hard
springtime work is
paying off. But when your roses have finished their first flush,
the peonies and irises are over, there can be a bit of a lull.
gardeners fill this gap with annuals, and once they get going,
and if you
remember to water them regularly, annuals can do a great job.
Lazy gardeners like me, however, look to perennials
to retain interest in
the garden throughout the season. There are a few backbone perennials
bloom for a period of months, or that are indispensable for their
This month, I'll list a few of my favourites for sunny areas,
and next month
I'll discuss those more suited to the shade.
The first that comes to mind is Daylilies. But each
blossom only lasts for
one day - hence the name, you say? That's true. If you plant
different types of Daylilies, the bloom period will cover months.
Stella d'Oro goes from May to November non-stop in my garden,
and there are many other prolonged bloomers. Even when not in
flower, Daylilies, with their
green fountain of foliage can transform a group of plants into
a garden, and
provide a solid anchor around which to plant the more frilly
Daylilies also have the benefits of growing nearly anywhere,
weeds, and they're prolific enough to thwart deer and slugs.
Another indispensable plant for gardens in our area
is the Perennial
Geranium. These are not to be confused with the red and pink
Geraniums that people make rows of in the summer. The perennial
a graceful plant, usually forming weed smothering mounds of soft
leaves. The types most often seen are the purple and blues which
June and July, but there are many varieties with pink, red or
The soft pink Geranium "Cambridge Pink" is a favourite
for filling in around
the edges of beds, blooms from spring till fall, and blends with
of colour schemes. Another advantage of these plants is that
you only need
to buy one of each sort. In spring, every shoot you pull off
sprouting clump will easily root and form its own plant.
A garden with only geraniums and daylilies would be
trouble free and nearly
complete all on its own. But wait, there's more! Siberian Iris
must have. It's royal blue flowers appear in June with the first
the spiky clump of leaves looks great all year and are wonderful
centre of large containers. Montbretia (a.k.a. Crocosmia) is
shaped and has sprays of orange flowers towards the end of summer
and last past Christmas in the garden. I wouldn't be without
it does spread a little too vigorously.
Another garden staple that lasts from early spring through
the winter is the
Sedum "Autumn Joy". Experiment with the other sedums
- some are variegated,
some more low growing, but none compare to Autumn Joy. This perennial
starts out as a mound of fleshy light green leaves that gives
a nice solid
counterpoint to peonies and foxgloves. Gradually, flowers start
that look not unlike broccoli for most of the summer. In August
flowers open up a bright pink, and over the course of the fall,
to dark red on straw coloured stems. If not knocked down by snow,
stay presentable until next spring's cleanup.
A few other perennials for sunny areas to consider are:
Alchemilla molis (Ladies Mantle), Oregano (careful, it will spread),
Yarrow (Summer Pastels is a nice mix). Most Bergenias, Hostas,
Heucheras will do fairly well in sunny areas in Campbell River
though they are technically shade plants.
When you're planning a new or refurbished garden bed,
you'll want to include
exciting, ephemeral attention getters such as tulips, roses,
lilies, lilacs, buddileas, michealmas daisies, and summer bulbs.
evergreen shrubs for winter interest. Then fill in the remaining
with some of the plants I discussed above. You'll be rewarded
with a garden
that varies, but remains interesting throughout the year. The
will grow quickly, and within a few years, your garden will look
been there forever.