Perennial Recommendations


I want to add some perennials to my garden this year.  I currently have a lilac, a hydrangea, some vines, some peonies, a Japanese maple and some roses.  Would like recommendations for perennials for the edge of the beds, to hide the fence and to grow in partial shade.



This is a broad category and it seems that there are three areas: border perennials, in sun, partial shade perennials, and vines to cover a fence.

Sunny border perennials can include short bulbs for early spring colour. The ones noted here are planted in the fall, come back year after year, and spread. Some bulbs can include: crocus, grape hyacinth, bulbous iris, puschkinia,  and species tulips such as Tulipa tarda and T. urumiensis.

Perennials for a sunny border can include most of the clump forming cranesbills, such as spotted crane’s bill (Geranium maculatum),  and other varieties such as ‘Ann Folkard’, ‘Max Frei’ and Rozanne. The former two bloom June to August and the last is a bit taller and blooms to September. Pinks are in the carnation family (Dianthus spp.) and are quite drought tolerant, grow in mats, and many bloom June to September, such as ‘Fire and Ice’, and ‘Dragon Fruit’.

The coral bells (Heuchera spp.) can grow in either sun or part shade. The are known for their bright, colourful leaves more than their flowers, but look well in a border. Leaf colour ranges from deep burgundy to bright lime green or peach.

For a shadier border, try ground covers such as the deadnettles  (Lamium maculatum). These have variegated leaves and bloom in spring. Depending upon the variety, the blooms can be white, pink or mauve. The native foamflower (Tiarella cordifolia), blooms white in early spring.

If the vines will be located in full sun, there are many to choose from, including clematis, trumpet vine, chocolate vine (Akebia quinata), and Dutchman’s pipe (Aristolochia durior). Most of the clematis can take part some shade. If the vines are located more in part shade to shade, the chocolate vine and Dutchman’s pipe (in fact, mine keeps growing inside my old garage!) will do well. For vines that flower June to September, perhaps the honeysuckles, such as Lonicera x brownii ‘Dropmore Scarlet’ or L. japonica ‘Halliana’ or Hall’s honeysuckle.

More information about perennials can be found in books or on-line. All the perennials noted above will do well in zone 4 and above.