Flowering Perennials for Four Seasons of Interest

Flowering perennials, carefully curated to combine varying heights, colours, and textures, make the most intriguing gardens. For a beautiful, low-maintenance addition to your garden, perennial plants are the way to go – they grow back every spring, year after year.  Think of them like wardrobe basics to which you can accessorize with eye-popping annuals (purchased each year).

For Alta Vista gardens my perennial favorites, in descending order of height, are:

Peony

Peonies deliver outrageously beautiful blooms with the most sumptuous flowers (white/yellow/ pink/ fuchsia) and lush green foliage (3-4’ tall; full sun)

A few dozen peonies flowers in full bloom
Pink Peonies
Credit: Jean Carr

Salvia/Sage

These aromatic beauties burst into bright blue bloom in late summer against a backdrop of lustrous silvery-green leaves that contrast well with darker plants (3-4’tall; full sun)

Salvia with blue purple flowers
Salvia

Coneflower

Think of echinacea as daisies on steroids; the tall flower stocks add height and a classic look to any garden amid their daisy-like flower heads with pink/purple/coral petals (2-4’ tall; full sun)

A patch of red, white, purple and orange echinacea or coneflowers
Coneflower
Credit: Jean Carr

Phlox

These eye-catchers win the perennial popularity contest  in my books with their large, long-blooming clusters of pink, purple, lavender or white flowers (2-3’ tall; full sun)

Pink phlox flowers
Pink Phlox

Daylilies

Ubiquitous in Ottawa thanks to their easy-care nature; newer repeat-blooming hybrids are preferred over older varieties (2-3’ tall; full sun to light shade)

A bright colourful red orange daylily by a stream
Red and Orange Daylily by a stream
Credit: Jean Carr

Irises

This June bloomer is sophisticated, reliable, and easy to grow with flower options available in a rainbow of magical colors (2’ tall; full sun). Check our how to grow Blue Flag Iris.

About a dozen blue flag iris
Blue Flag Iris

Astilbe

From the attractive lacy greenery, beautiful and long-lasting white, pink, or violet plume flowers spike upward in July (2’ tall; light afternoon shade). Read more about Astilbe, the queen of the garden!

A group of bright pink astilbes
Pink astilbe

Cranesbill Geranium

These cheery geranium plants deliver flowers in shades of blue, pink and vivid purple; varieties such as ‘Rozanne’ bloom non-stop throughout the summer (1’ tall; full sun)

Light blue Meadow Cranesbill in a meadow
Light blue Meadow Cranesbill (Geranium pratense)
Credit: Trish Steel, CC BY-SA 2.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Hosta

Touting an almost tropical appearance with lush foliage in varying shades of creamy to dark green, hostas are ideal for shadier areas, including under tall trees  (1’tall; light shade) 

A row of healthy green hostas
A selection of hostas

Cushion Spurge

Prized for its ‘cushion’ of flamboyant chartreuse and yellow flowers throughout the summer and transitioning to red, maroon, and orange foliage in the fall (1’ tall; full sun)

A patch of bright yellow Cushion Spurge - Euphorbia epithymoides
Cushion Spurge – Euphorbia epithymoides
Credit: Chrumps, CC BY-SA 4.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Author

Patricia is a long-time resident of the Alta Vista area of Ottawa with 30+ years of gardening experience.  If you’d like to share your thoughts about this article or reach out for design and planting advice for your garden, please contact Patricia by email: OttawaPlantByNumbers@gmail.com or on Instagram: @ottawaplantbynumbers

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