June is Perennial Gardening Month! - Cheekwood
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Written by Shanna Jones, plant collections manager at CheekwoodIt’s late August and your garden may seem a little tired, and then, bright shades of red, orange and yellow begin peeking out of that border patch of Crocosmia. I adore Crocosmia because it perfectly bridges the gap between late summer and fall, just when you think the summer color show is over. The leaves are sword-like and the stems, from which the small flowers nod, are arching, creating a rich and graceful garden architecture. Crocosmia is the perfect addition to a front garden border or mixed in with various garden textures if one prefers a cottage vibe. No matter how you choose to grow it, hummingbirds will most certainly be interested. I recommend the cultivar ‘Emily McKenzie’ for its larger orange blooms.

Photography by Andrew Bruckse Photography. This geranium is a groundcover, bloom buster, pollinator plant, and garden workhorse all-in-one. It is one of the longest blooming perennials, starting up in May and not stopping until frost. Bees cannot get enough of the violet blue flowers and, although beautiful in a container, it creates a dense mass that serves as an impressive weed barrier in the landscape. ‘Rozanne’ responds exceptionally well to rejuvenation cutbacks if it looks tired or needs shaping in midsummer. Of all the perennial Geraniums, this hybrid is my very favorite in terms of habit, bloom power, and longevity.Baptisia spp.

A native to the Eastern United States, Baptisia was farmed by early American settlers for dying fibers, hence the common name “False Indigo”. Now, it is highly valued for its lupine-like blooms in May (which come in a wide variety of colors) ease of growing, low maintenance, and its resistance to deer. Stems emerging from the ground in early spring resemble asparagus stalks, and the seed pods persist for many weeks, extending the interest beyond flowering. False indigo is most effective when planted in a naturalized setting in groupings or as a specimen plant. I would opt for as many as possible. Give it plenty of full sun and well-drained soil to root in, stand back, and admire.June is Perennial Gardening Month, and we’re honoring the loyal and dependable plant. While many gardeners think of annuals for their coveted color, they will eventually fade with the fall, perishing by winter, never to be seen again.

However, with the perennial, it’s a different story entirely. Perennials arrive promptly (give or take a late frost or extended cold period) and leave only temporarily for a long winter holiday. We look forward to their glorious comeback every year. Perennials are good friends and beautiful additions to any garden.

To help you in planning your garden, I’ve selected three of my all-time favorite perennials that are sure to brighten up your yard.

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