by Director of Gardens Perry Mathewes

Perennial Pleasures

One of my favorite things about this garden is all the discoveries waiting for you when you simply walk around a corner. With all the oversized hedges of boxwood and yew, there are quite a few garden spaces that you aren’t even aware of until you arrive in that particular “garden room.” Right now, in all this heat and rain, the best space to find is the Perennial Garden.

The Perennial Garden has gone through several incarnations through the years. It started as a cut flower garden, full of flowers that staff from local institutions would cut for arrangements at their locations.

Perennial Garden Site in 1960

Cut flower garden 1989

Cut flower garden 1976

Cut flower garden 1989

Then it metamorphosed into a perennial garden in the early 1990s. A variety of perennials provided plentiful color during the summer, but plantings of ornamental grasses and butterfly bush overwhelmed the small angular beds and crowded some of the more interesting plants.

Perennial Garden 1997

Perennial Garden cutting grasses 2002

This past winter, we redesigned the planting scheme and removed most of the plants to make way for a new display of perennials. Many of those new perennials are finally starting to show their true colors, and they have lots of color.

Perennial Garden July 2015

Perennial Garden Combo 1 July 2015

When you first walk in, you will notice a variety of tall and short plants. A white form of blazing star, Russian sage, and ‘Cranberry Crush’ hibiscus provide colorful but not overwhelming vertical elements. A variety of coreopsis and coneflowers weave themselves around the feet of these taller plants. We have the traditional purple coneflowers, but look for newer varieties as well such as the yellow ‘Aloha,’ the orange ‘Sundown,’ and the self-explaining ‘Green Jewel.’ The coreopsis are almost as diverse with shades of red, yellow, white, and maroon. Additional pops of color come from various day lilies including the vibrant ‘Alabama Jubiliee,’ the warm ‘Bright Sunset,’ and the rich purple of the ‘Nosferatu.’ Balancing all this vibrant color are the cool tones of the ‘Summer Blues’ delphiniums and sea hollies.

Perennial Garden Combo 2 July 2015

Since it is their first year in the garden, many of these plants still have lots of room to grow and fill in even more. Next year the rainbow will of color will be even thicker, lusher and brighter. They will provide a perennial place of pleasure. Please peek at them posthaste.

Echinacea ‘Sundown’ July 2015

Hemerocallis ‘Nosferatu’ July 2015

Delphinium grandiflorum ‘Summer Blues’ July 2015

Hibiscus ‘Cranberry Crush’ July 2015

Come see the Perennial Garden for free on Wednesday, August 5 and join me for a free Garden Walkabout tour beginning at 10 a.m. See you soon!

Previous Posts:

6/29/15 The Vegetable Garden

6/5/15 Let Me Tell You A Story

5/9/15 Watering the Soul

4/23/15 How Does Your Garden Grow?

4/8/15 Cherry Pickin’

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Photos of 2015 Perennial Garden by Director of Gardens Perry Mathewes.