Perennials are a perfect addition to any garden. Since they re-bloom year after year, a perennial garden can provide years of show with just one planting and a little care each year. Choosing the right perennials should always start with a visit to your local garden center for ideas on plants that are native to your particular growing area. Native plants are a logical choice for Georgia, because they are already acclimated to the Georgia weather, which means they'll need less care in the way of nutrients and watering. Gardening with natives also provides food sources for birds, insects and animals. Non-native plants often run the risk of becoming invasive.
Choose perennials based on criteria such as sunlight requirements, soil drainage, height and other landscape needs. When planning a perennial garden space, start with a focal-point plant--something that draws the interest immediately based on your own tastes and desires for the space. Choose plants because of their abundance of blooms or longevity of bloom time, shape, color, whatever your criteria.
Some typical Georgian garden focal plants include many cut flower blooms such as carnations, delphinium (also known as larkspur), foxglove, hibiscus, hollyhock, iris, peony, phlox, coneflower, gerbera daisies, shasta daisies, swamp sunflower and stokesia. Summer bulb varieties such as gladiolus, daylily varieties and amaryllis are some of the star performers at the Atlanta Botanical Garden, an excellent place to wander for inspiration in your own perennial beds.
Filler plants have a special place in the garden bed. These are your constant bloomers--the plants that spread and make the difference between a dirt spot with some flowers and a true garden. There's no set rule that these blooms must act as fillers--your Southern garden can highlight any of these as show-stoppers just as any in the above list. Intermingle these plants among your focal-points, depending on their height and foliage for a full, beautiful garden.
Filler perennials can include varieties of yarrow, anemone, asclepias (also known as butterfly weed), aster, astilbe, hardy begonia, bachelor's button, chrysanthemum, columbine, coreopsis, bleeding heart, blanket flower, coral bell, hostas, beebalm and black-eyed susan.
Ground Covers and Trailing Perennials
Ground covers finish out your garden. Whether tumbling over walls, growing over rocks or softening the edges of paths, border plants can bloom or just provide an interesting foliage. With Georgia's mild climate, low-growing plants often stay evergreen and can include a number of types, depending on the needs of the garden. Many low-growing, trailing perennial types make excellent plants for hanging baskets or planters, though they tend to only last like an annual plant.
Ground covers include bugleflower, allysum, silver mound, candytuft, ceratostigma, dianthus, babysbreath, snakebeard, St. John's wort, sweet William, verbena, veronica, vina and viola.