Perennials are flowers that have more than one growing and blooming season.They often bloom all summer and go dormant in winter. Roses, delphiniums, Shasta daisies, blanket flowers and carnations are traditional perennial garden favorites. Perennials that do well in locations where water needs to be conserved include salvias, evening primrose, yarrow, coral bells and daylily.
Create a Perennial Flower Bed
Choose a spot that receives six to eight hours of sun per day. Perennial gardens expand each year so give yourself plenty of room to grow. A perennial shade garden can be placed around a tree, under a tree canopy, or on the north side of the house.
Create a formal garden by making the flower bed a straight-line rectangle, and place the same type of flowers in a rows with tallest in back and shortest in front. For an informal perennial garden, allow the bed to be curved or the arrangement of flowers to be asymmetrical, or place flowers in color groupings or height groups of various flower types. Tall stemmed flowers such as Shasta daisy look good with the shorter-curved stems of yellow blooming coreopsis.
Prepare the flower bed by adding mature compost at a rate of 1 shovelful per 1 square foot. Composted soil ensures a good start to plant health and disease resistance. Fall flower bed preparation is optimal because roots have a chance to become established over winter. Water soil thoroughly after adding compost. Allow it to settle for three days or more before planting.
Choose tall, medium and short perennials, which grow in three shapes: tall, mounds or spreading at ground level. Create groups of plants according to texture, foliage or color. Choose a variety of flower shapes and sizes for greater visual interest, and plant perennials to bloom in each season so the garden always has color. Plant flowers with adequate room to expand each year.
Place a bench and garden art nearby. Informal perennial gardens have places to sit and enjoy the flowers. Adding statues, a sundial, a water feature or old garden tools and implements adds to the visual interest and charm of the garden. Formal gardens are meant to be viewed from a balcony where their symmetry can be seen. Informal gardens invite sitting, talking or eating at a small table.