LONG SEASON COLOR Normally, perennials are known for their seasonal blooms. They flower for a few weeks and then get down to business, building up energy to grow bigger, survive the winter, and bloom next year. Some perennials, however, bloom for a long time—it’s in their nature. They have captured the knack of keeping their flowers fresh and lively for weeks on end. Just bear in mind that long-season is not all-season; perennials have to keep some energy in reserve.
THE BEST VALUES IN PERENNIALS Given their flower performance, these perennials are great garden values. The following are our personal favorites for Chicago gardens, with excellent manners and well-regarded blossoms:
- Rudbeckias feature tall, graceful flowers with strong cones. They bloom in waves that last for several weeks.
- Gaillardias are known as container-friendly perennials that produce an abundance of sturdy flowers.
- Coreopsis start blooming in early to mid-summer and then stay in the ON position until frost shuts them down.
- Veronicas sport tight buds that say in color on their spires for a long time in the spring and summer.
- Geraniums have a long lifespan of color in the summer, and then return to color again in the fall with their orange and yellow leaves.
- Lavenders stay in bloom for a long time, with their silvery foliage adding a dusky quality to the garden even outside the blooming season. Their scent is easily released when crushed.
- Tall Sedums bloom in the fall, but their flowers—masses of them—last for a long time through the harvest season. Especially valuable for butterflies, hummingbirds and bees is their ability to produce nectar for weeks.