Perennials in your garden

by CARLA BASS, City Editor

Perennials are a favorite if you truly love flowers and do not have a great deal of time or ability to spend on replanting flowers every year. These will be the bones of your garden regardless of how many annuals you end up interspersing among them.

Many in our community have complained about the troubles they have with deer eating their planting. One of the first to be recommended is red honeysuckle (Lonicera, Major Wheeler). This is deer resistant and a favorite of hummingbirds. It is also a native East Texas plant. It appears that the one you can purchase seems to be a much more prolific bloomer than one that you get a start from in the wild.

Extra hardy rich blue lavender tolerates heat and humidity. Lavender is pleasing to your senses with its purple/blue color and calming fragrance. This is the most colorful new Lavandula angustifolia. Its short spikes packed with aromatic, deep blue florets. Blooming June to September, the 12″ tall herbal plants are remarkably hardy. Use fresh or dried in cut bouquets and sachets.

Lantana is another perennial which even if you have a “black thumb” rather than a ‘green’ one, you certainly will have a hard time to have this to not bloom for you year after year. It is available in various colors and butterflies love them. Although the plant is very hardy, if the weather becomes too hot or dry, it will quit flowering. After a good rain, it will again burst into multi-colored floret bouquets with the blossoms being in clusters along a cane type stem. Two of the oldest and hardiest varieties are the pale yellow and pink/lavender combination or the deep golden yellow with deep orange blooms. Both are the bush type. After frost kills back the leaves you cut the canes back almost to the ground and mulch with some pine straw. When it gets warm enough in the spring it begins to put out again from the roots. Both of these are considered as bush lantana and are available in many different color combinations. Other lantanas are available as a trailing variety and are lovely in hanging baskets.

Daylilies are the last to add at this time. They come in both tall stemmed and dwarf. Daylilies are very hardy and come in a gorgeous array of colors. They are easy to propagate to spread throughout your beds and also have extras to share and swap with others to collect different colors. Colors run from wine and purple through oranges, pinks, and pale delicate yellows.

perennials 2In my yard there is a variety that has gone through at least four generations of my family. They are doubles, having more petals than many daylilies, are tangerine orange with flecks of red down inside the petals, and they came from both of my great-grandmothers’ gardens.

We will talk more about perennials another week, as there are so many from which to choose. The more perennials you use in your landscape, the less work you will have to expend to enjoy the beautiful colors of the blooms and the butterflies and hummingbirds they will attract.

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