If we were starting a garden again we would have a list of our ‘must-have plants’. They are on the list because they all have the same four things in common— they are all perennials, stay in the borders all year round, look good from the moment they start to grow in the spring and will keep going right up to the first frosts.
In this article, we are going to keep “how do you grow it” advice to the minimum, which we hope you won’t mind. If you buy them from a garden centre check with them about a plant’s particular requirements. In our own experience, these plants are not difficult to grow, and if they were we wouldn’t grow them. So here are some plants from that list that we grow today in our borders.
Persicaria “Red Dragon”
The first three here are all related and look good all year. Grown for their foliage, all three have insignificant flowers. Red Dragon is tall so should be planted at the back of the border.
Middle to front of the border. Will self-sow freely.
Persicaria “Painters Pallette”
Middle to front of the border. Can also self-sow and run true.
Tricyrtis Formosana (Toad Lily)
Front of the border. Delicate yet tough. Attractive pink flowers.
Back of the border, looks tropical and the flowers are a real treat. Avoid a sunny spot.
Almost Black Leaved Dahlia “Bishop of LLandaff”
This is one of a number of very dark-leaved Dahlias available, and yes we never take our Dahlias up and most have been in the ground for ten years. Tall, so back of the border.
Tradescantia “Sweet Kate”
Bright yellow leaves and blue flowers, an amazing contrast. Front of the border.
Geranium “Russell Pritchard”
A true hardy geranium which has the longest flowering season of any garden plant. Magenta flowers against light grey leaves look very aristocratic. Front of the border.
Very unusual, nothing else like it in our garden. Middle of the border.
Cimicifuga Racemosa “Atropurpurea” (Bugbane)
Almost black leaves gives this plant a very architectural look. Flowers quite late with cream coloured spikes that smell of vanilla. Middle of the border.
Euphorbia X Pasteurii
Exceptional even when not in flower. Looks tropical. Beware, this is a Euphorbia and the sap can cause skin rashes. Back of the border.