I love perennials. Of all the things, they are the simplest. Not to mention they give you that great cottage garden look. It is unashamedly English of me. What’s not to love about a cottage flower garden? None of that structured nonsense and neat hedging. Not a space unused.
I love the way all the plants become one, blending into one another. It’s like painting with flowers. You get to take all of these great colours and use the garden as a canvas. It should be frilly and flower-filled and full of life – a perfect, practical blend of whatever you want. There are no rules except “fill the space!”
If it’s medicinal or useful, all the better. It should be practical and self-sustaining, requiring little more than some compost from time to time, and the occasional lifting and splitting of crowns.
See how beautiful they are? This is Anne Hathaway’s garden. The wife of Shakespeare, not the sexless Catwoman. I’m pretty sure Anne Hathaway didn’t really have a garden like this but it would be pretty cool if she did, with all the lupins and foxgloves and delphiniums.
The best part about a perennial bed is how easy it is.
Take mine, for example.
Yesterday it was looking so scruffy that I didn’t dare photograph it for fear of my mother coming over to help out. Thirty minutes later and it is cleared up. All the deadheads have been removed. All the ground has been raked over. The achillea is already big and healthy, having not even died back this winter. The marguerites have also had a good winter and their crown is huge too. Then there are little, unexpected things, like the signs of lupins and aquilegia which I hadn’t expected just yet. The campanula are also putting out leaves too. Six flowers that are just raring to go.
Last year, I put in some annuals as perennials can take a year or so to get going. In fact, when you look at it in August, it seems to be mostly annuals and dahlias.
But in there, there are lots of little pots of things for this year, and having cleared out all the dead remains of last year’s annuals, there’s a lot of life.
In fact, that’s just reminded me to plant some of the scabious seed I saved. I also saved some of the Pink Surprise calendula, though it would be a surprise if it were really pink, since it looked very orange to me. My mum sent me a huge pack of aquilegia seeds, which I’ll see if they grow – I love aquilegia with an incomparable love. It’s tiny and delicate and pretty.