Short Perennials for Your Landscape
Short perennials are a blessing to any landscaper: they help cover areas where you’d be left with nothing but plain grass otherwise; places that are too small to plant anything else, typically along borders or walkways. Any bed of prized roses can benefit from the accents brought by small perennials surrounding it, without taking away any of its majestic beauty.
When they hear about perennials, most people think about lilies and lavender, and that’s about everything, so here are more options to spice up your landscape.
The butterfly weed can keep any garden covered in clusters of bright yellow and orange flowers all summer long. It grows about 1 foot tall (can go up to 3 feet under certain circumstances), and, as an extra added bonus, it has some really interesting, spirally leaves. But that’s not all: it’s not called butterfly weed for nothing – the plant is a magnet for all sorts of butterflies, in particular the queen and monarch types, so you’ll be getting a double deal – not just a beautiful flower, but also brightly-colored butterflies fluttering around in your garden for a most idyllic landscape.
Lady’s Mantle is another interesting choice, especially for quaint gardens, which are trying to conjure the spirit of days passed, of healthy childhoods and families with strong moral values. Think about it like this: if the house smells of cupcakes, the garden must have some Lady’s Mantle growing here and there.
Lady’s Mantle is very, very low maintenance, and it’s highly resistant to water accumulation – so if you live in an area with frequent showers and storms, this is the ideal option. Its flowers are not spectacular from a distance, but they’re quite interesting up close, with their small, green clusters – so it’s a good option if you want to add some foliage to your landscape without drawing attention from something else (yes, there is such as thing as a garden that’s too colorful and too overdone, no matter who says otherwise, but, fortunately, the modest Lady’s Mantle is here to help).
And then there’s the “blue wonder” nepeta (also known as catmint) – a wonderful plant, that’s not nearly as popular as it deserves (probably because it shares the color spectrum with the lavender, and people tend to pick the safer option). The “blue wonder” nepeta is surprisingly sturdy, for all its delicate appearance, and will thrive both in very dry areas and in high humidity. Many specialists agree that it’s by far the best option when you need to border a rose bed. It’s also a magnet for butterflies and humming birds, while displaying a lot of resistance against rabbits and deer, due to its strong fragrance.
Other short perennials that can be used to cover ground or to accent your landscape an outdoor living space are the white candytufts, which are very easy to integrate in any design, phlox plants, easy to grow and quite spectacular, as long as your garden gets plenty of sun, lamium, for shadier locations, or the ice flower – an interesting looking plant, and not as icy as you might think (keep in mind that it comes from South Africa, not the frozen north, so it does not survive in harsh winters, as its name might imply).
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