Good morning gardeners! Today’s ‘Sunday mornings in the garden’ post is going to be a short one because I’m sharing a rather short list of plants today; perennials with long bloom times.
While the upside to perennials is that they come back year after year (so you only have to buy them once to enjoy them for years), the downside is that most of them have a rather short bloom period.
As you know, my absolute favorite perennial flower in the garden is the peony.
And the bloom time for peonies is notoriously short, and made even shorter when we inevitably suffer a spell of hot, humid weather as soon as they open.
As you may remember, last year, in an attempt to extend peony season, I experimented with saving peony buds in the fridge and I had good success with that. So much so that I did it again this year with even more peony buds. And … um … well …
I didn’t follow my own instructions! I wrapped these in a damp paper towel, and then put them in the Ziploc bag. As you can see, they got moldy. Last year I just put them directly in the Ziploc, no damp paper towel. I’ll have to try again next year, with no damp towel!
Another of my favorites, lilacs, also have a pretty short bloom period.
And unfortunately, I don’t know any tricks for saving them for later. In fact, I haven’t even found any tricks that work for making them last more than 1 or 2 days as cut flowers. If you know of anything that works, leave a comment and let us know.
Roses are another of my favorites with a short bloom time.
However, I grow very few due to Japanese beetles. Those beetles just love roses! I never had time for fussing with insect control in the past, so I took a few things out of my garden that the beetles loved including roses, a grape vine and some Virginia creeper. I do have this one last pink shrub rose that was given to me at least 20 years ago or more.
But wait! I went off on a tangent, this post is supposed to be about perennials with a long bloom time, not without one.
I’m tempted to start the list with panicle hydrangeas.
They definitely have a longer bloom time than peonies, lilacs and roses. However, they only just started blooming in mid-August, so while they will continue to look amazing for the rest of the season, they missed most of the summer.
I do have a handful of perennials in my garden that bloom for a good portion of the growing season though, starting as early as May and continuing through the first frost.
Corydalis lutea is one of them.
This is a plant that I purchased at a garage sale not really knowing what it was. Frankly, I don’t love yellow flowers. But I let this one do its thing because it’s such a constant bloomer. Mine starts blooming in late spring and it’s still blooming now.
You do have to be slightly cautious with this one as it self-seeds quite easily and will take over if you let it. I pull out good sized chunks of it every year, and it is very easy to control that way. It’s a great companion plant for hostas, and I have it growing in dappled sunlight.
Lamium Aureum is another perennial that blooms from May through frost.
I’ve even seen this one pop up through the snow with some flowers on it!
But I have to admit, I grow this ground cover for its foliage not for its flowers. I don’t actually like the flowers, but I love the bright lime green leaves.
It’s another great companion for hostas as it will grow in full shade to part sun.
Another long blooming perennial that I purchased at a garage sale is Dicentra ‘Luxuriant’, sometimes called fern-leaf or fringed bleeding heart.
Unlike the more common varieties of bleeding heart that bloom in the spring and have pretty much died back to the ground by now, this variety blooms all summer. As you can see, the flowers look slightly different (and aren’t as pretty, in my opinion) and so does the foliage. The foliage is rather fern-like, hence the name.
The plant is much more compact that your typical bleeding heart, and it doesn’t get straggly and unkempt looking in late summer like the others.
This plant will also self-seed, although not quite as readily as the Corydalis, at least not in my garden. I do have one volunteer plant that popped up in a spot where it doesn’t belong and I haven’t had the heart (pardon the pun) to pull it out yet.
Last on my long-blooming perennial list is Myosotis sylvatica, or Forget-me-not.
This is another ground cover that can lean towards invasive. However, I have mine interplanted with a number of other ground covers, the Lamium, a varigated vinca vine and a very small sedum. All of them tend to battle for dominance and so far no single plant has won out.
I do love those pretty little blue flowers. But ‘little’ is the key word here.
An honorable mention goes to my new Roguchi clematis.
I just planted it back in May of this year, but it hasn’t quit flowering all summer and is still going strong. I just have this one growing season to go by, but so far it seems to be a winner. Once again, it’s not the most flamboyant of the clematis varieties, but I love that it has bloomed all summer. I think the little purple and white bell shaped flowers are super sweet too.
One thing to note about the Roguchi is that it’s a non-vining clematis. It won’t climb its way up a trellis on its own, but you can train it (which is what I have done). Or you can let it spill over the sides of a retaining wall, or scramble through your perennial beds.
One thing all four of these plants have in common is that they aren’t terribly showy. Perhaps that’s the trade off here, more subdued flowers in exchange for a much longer bloom time.
How about you? Do you have any recommendations for perennials that will bloom all summer? If so, be sure to leave a comment and let us know.