Planting a beautiful garden can be a satisfying, creative endeavour that yields breathtaking results. Of course, to achieve the garden of your dreams requires experience, research and a good selection of plants. If you’re considering plants for cool temperate climates like the Southern Highlands, perennials should top your list. Read on to find out why.
Perennials are plants that come back year after year with minimal care, so once planted you won't have to worry about replanting in the spring. They are the reliable and predictable workhorses in the garden, providing stunning blooms year after year. Not only that, but these hardy plants also have a natural ability to adapt to changes in their environment and resist disease and other threats from insects or pests. Plus, there are hundreds of beautiful perennial varieties out there, so you can let your creativity run wild! All this makes them ideal for keeping your garden looking vibrant and lush over time.
These plants are incredibly hardy, with many having natural drought-resistant qualities that mean they can go up to six weeks between waterings. Perfect for those who may not have the time or resources for daily maintenance. These beauties are tailored for a wide range of climates, from tropical to arctic temperatures with many being perfect for our climate here in the Southern Highlands. That's right; you don't have to worry about your beloved plants dying during those cold winter days.
When it comes to perennial varieties you'll be spoiled for choice. Among the best perennials for cooler climates are: Achillea millefolium (yarrow), Geranium sanguineum (bloody crane’s bill), Heuchera villosa (hairy alumroot), Stachys byzantina (lamb's ears), Digitalis purpurea (foxglove), Peonies and Iris sibirica (Siberian iris). You can also add some Canterbury Bells, Gypsophila, Aster and Japanese Windflowers to give even more variety in the garden.
Many of our perennial plants are herbaceous and will die down in winter so they can rest and store energy for an even more vibrant display next season.
Living in the Highlands, you have the opportunity to grow some truly beautiful and hardy perennial grasses. Some of the most popular varieties for cooler climates include:
Festuca glauca (blue fescue) - This clumping grass is great for adding texture and colour to your garden. Its bright blue foliage can reach heights of up to 12 inches and is very low maintenance.
Miscanthus sinensis (Japanese Silver Grass) - A tall growing perennial grass that features magnificent fountain like flowers in Summer. Miscanthus will add drama and movement to your garden for many months of the year and makes a stunning feature in the Winter garden; especially in frosty areas as the dormant foliage and old flower heads make ghostly shapes highlighted by the frost and ice.
Carex buchananii (leatherleaf sedge) - A versatile grass that is easy to maintain and perfect for filling in large patches of garden space. Its thick, leathery leaves provide year-round interest and come in many colors from muted greens to dark bronze hues.
While many vegetables struggle to grow in our cold winters, perennial vegetables will thrive for many years and give you some edible delights without the heavy demands of a veggie patch. Try growing rhubarb, strawberries, asparagus and Jerusalem artichokes in a perennial garden bed of their own.
Care for your perennials
Plant your perennials in a well drained, rich loamy soil. Good drainage is important to prevent the plants from rotting during their dormancy through winter. Winter is a good time to dig up and divide overgrown plants with a sharp spade. Plant them in new beds with compost and some garden lime added to the soil. Cut back any dead foliage and give them a good watering.
Growing perennials gives avid gardeners the opportunity to create an ever-changing landscape in their outdoor space. These hardy plants are easy to maintain, require less water than annuals, and offer a diverse range of shapes and sizes for every garden style! Not only do perennials bring coveted beauty and colour to your garden, but they last for years - making them an economical and sustainable choice. So why not give perennials a try? With their ease of maintenance and plethora of varieties, you’ll be sure to find one that’s just perfect for your garden.
Have a chat to one our in-store Garden Guides to help you get it right!
Do you want to stay informed about awesome gardening tips from our professional horticulturists, know when new items are available and get invited to our events?
Sign up with your name and email address here.
21-29 Old Hume Highway, Shop 2
(corner of Crimea and Old Hume Hwy), Balaclava, NSW
Open 7 days a week, 9am to 5pm.
Thanks to Toni Salter, The Veggie Lady, for her contribution in writing this article exclusively for the Mittagong Garden Centre and our valued customers. We hope you enjoyed the article and found it helpful. For more information on the Veggie Lady click here at www.theveggielady.com