The Changing Perennial Palette


I have always loved gardening with perennials. There is never that “all at once, everything in bloom” thing going on. What I like is how a plant can tell me what time of the year it is, sometimes whether it has just rained and sometimes when it is just too darn hot.

I love to watch how bits of foliage appearing from the soil in the early spring can be plants that are in full bloom and needing to be cut back by May because they cover the pathway already (e.g. zexmenia!). Sometimes a perennial when it is finished blooming is not so appealing, but so many are if you are able to appreciate the stark beauty of their seed heads and the bounty they provide to the birds.


Perennials are great plants for sharing and for memories. When the Chinese ground orchid blooms in spring I think of Michael Moore, a longtime friend, the beautiful crinum reminds me of a friend of Lorie’s and the orange daylily that is blooming right now also blooms in many of the gardens in our neighborhood because of a generous neighbor. And now, every time I look at the galphimia (which will bloom all summer), both my husband and I will think of his cousin who is about to embark on a new adventure in Portugal.


2 thoughts on “The Changing Perennial Palette”

  1. Dear Ruth,
    Reading your recent notes: “The Changing Perennial Pallet” brought back a memory, one that I had almost forgotten:

    A little Indiana girl sitting with her Grandmother next to a Hollyhock bush. Her ‘Grandma’ took a blossom from the bush and magically transformed the flower into a pretty little lady with a hooped skirt. Soon the little girl and Grandma had transformed many little ladies dancing across the green summer grass.

    Thank you for bringing back a very cherished childhood memory! It made me smile.
    Now I need to find a Hollyhock to see if I still remember the transformation.

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