The best way to create a fabulous, eye-catching garden is to include a good mix of annuals, perennials, shrubs, grasses and trees. You get colour, contrast, varying heights and hopefully some nice shade for relief on those hot summer days.
When it comes to choosing flowering perennials, many people get overwhelmed by the vast array of choices and opt for annuals instead, simply because it’s less of a commitment. By doing a little research first and planting some versatile and hardy perennials, you can create a stunning garden and save money in the long run. Here are a few tips for buying the right perennials for your space.
Before buying any plant life for your garden, you should become familiar with your soil. Most regions of southern Ontario have hard clay soil, which is alkaline. Some areas have sandy soil, which is more acidic. Look online for simple ways to deter- mine the pH level of your soil.
Perennials that like sandy soil include: hostas, Virginia creeper, poppies, peonies, blue spirea, Russian sage, yarrow and yuccas.
Perennials that like clay soil include: asters, columbine, goldenrod, black- eyed Susan, daylilies and fountain grass.
To ensure that your perennials thrive, you will need to plant them properly, digging a hole three times as wide as the root ball and the same depth. Choose the proper spot in your garden too – some plants need more shade than others. Don’t fertilize immediately. Wait two to three weeks before adding a slow-release fertilizer. Water daily for the first few weeks, keeping soil moist at least one inch below the surface.
Pruning is also an important step to keeping yo9ur flowering perennials looking their best, but don’t overdo it. Deadhead as needed and check with your garden centre expert for the best time to prune. Some plants can be tended to as soon as they stop flowering, while others shouldn’t be pruned until the fall. (RMM)

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