Perennials reward your landscape investment

When you want a landscape that will come back - bigger and better - year after year, who are you gonna call? Perennials!
The landscape surrounding your home really is an investment in many different ways. As I've reminded you on many occasions, carefully planted trees and shrubs can provide shade to lower air-conditioning bills in the summer and act as a windbreak in the winter.
Additionally, attractive landscaping can add thousands of dollars to the value of your home when it comes time to sell and move on. Realtors will tell you how important "curb appeal" can be when potential buyers are comparing your home to others that they've seen.
I tend to think of three levels of investment when it comes to landscaping.
The first level will bring a fast return on your investment. This is as close as Nature gets to instant gratification: Annuals. Often, annuals are already blooming when you select them at the Garden Center. They add a delightful splash of color to the exterior of your home.
The third level is your long-term investment: Trees. Your investment gradually grows and increases over the years, creating an established and mature look to your landscape.
But there is a middle ground. The second level of landscape investment: Perennials.
With perennials, you'll invest some time and patience, but your reward will be many seasons of attractive, blooming plants with a minimum of ongoing maintenance.
The perennials that you choose will depend on a number of factors, including the Plant Hardiness Zone in which you live. If you're unsure of your zone, feel free to send an e-mail to me at with your city and state and I'll check it for you.
Here are three ideas for perennials that you might want to investigate. Some are easier to find than others, so I can send you shopping information if you care to drop me an e-mail.
Achillea millefolium Red Velvet
Achillea make ideal garden plants and seem to thrive under almost any conditions, which is good news if you haven't had much luck with your planting in the past. Once established, the Red Velvet is fairly drought-resistant and deer-resistant, and tolerates a wide variety of soil types.
During the spring it forms rosettes of feathery foliage followed by hairy flower stalks topped by densely packed flat topped umbels of numerous florets. The plants are pleasantly aromatic and are very attractive to bees. If you like dried flowers, this is a good choice. Pick them in full bloom before the color starts to fade.
Red Velvet grows to about 30" tall and produces compact heads of deep velvety red florets which have a tiny conspicuous clear golden yellow center. It makes a fine showy border plant and long lasting cut flower.
Agastache "Black Adder"
This is a Hyssop that won't swamp your garden in seedlings! This sterile, deer-resistant hybrid is a delightful new shade that produces no seeds and flowers until frost. The Black Adder has dark purple buds with lilac-like flowers and licorice scented foliage.
You'll probably find that hummingbirds and butterflies will be attracted to its stunning violet-blue blooms. 'Black Adder' appreciates good winter drainage; in fact, it's essential for winter survival. In full sun and well-drained soil, it will shrug off both summer heat and early frosts.
Anemone Honorine Jobert
Do you have some "problem areas?" You can plant Anemone Honorine Jobert in a spot that would be difficult for other plants to grow because this background plant will perform in spite of the hardships. This makes Honorine Jobert a great plant for dark corners, background nooks, and even a groundcover to mix with larger shrubs.
Discovered in France in 1858, this anemone gives a fine autumn display of pure white flowers with yellow centers and is excellent as a background plant, growing 30-36 inches tall. It is a vigorous branching perennial with robust foliage of deeply-divided, slightly-bristled, dark-green leaves.
Certainly, invest in your landscape at all three levels. But for many of us, the sight of these delightful perennials, coming back year after year, is all the return on investment we need! As always, contact me via e-mail if you're looking for more selections or planting advice for your perennials.
The Plant Man is here to help. Send questions about trees, shrubs and landscaping to For resources and additional information, or to subscribe to Steve's free weekly e-mailed newsletter, go to

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