AlisaB
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Joined: Thu May 14, 2015 12:21 am
Location: Nashville, TN Zone 6B

Help getting started with Perennial garden

Hello All,

I have been an avid gardener for the last three years and absolutely love it. I usually have been planting annuals except for some fountain grass, roses, hostas and monkey grass. I would like to plan a perennial garden for a corner of my yard this fall that gets full, hot sun and not really sure how to group things together and where to get bulbs, plan, etc. It seems certain bulbs are around at certain times of the year and then when I go to look for some they are no where to be found. A couple of questions:

1 - has anyone done a preplanned Better Home and Garden perennial garden? I see the preplanned areas that flower constantly at different times and would like to do one of those.

2 - on the other hand, I have a list of perennials I would like to plant but don't know how to go about timing and how to go about it. The list is as follows: dutch iris, buttercups, geraniums, phlox, dianthus, azaleas, etc. How would I go about planning and planting on my own and how do I know how to set one up?

3 - Where/how is the best way to purchase bulbs and gather them before I plant? Do I have to plant all of these at different times? Can I buy bulbs now through the mail and store them?

I am Zone 6B - Nashville, TN. I have a very small yard and just want one area set aside for perennials.

I know these are a lot of questions but I appreciate all the help.
Last edited by AlisaB on Thu May 14, 2015 2:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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rainbowgardener
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Re: Help getting started with Perennial garden

Welcome to the Forum. To start with you have to tell us where you are located. There are almost no garden questions that can be answered without regard to location and climate.
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pinksand
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Re: Help getting started with Perennial garden

Will the perennial garden be going in an existing bed or are you taking out lawn space for the bed? How large is the space? Photos are always helpful to picture the location. Answering your questions will be easier with more information, especially location, but for now...

1) No, I haven't copied a BHG garden recipe because I tend to have specific plants I want to use as you mentioned in your next question. I think it's pretty easy to come up with your own recipe by planning out enough varying bloom times and seasons of interest.

2) The answer depends in part on my question above. However, I always find it easiest to start with bones of the garden, your shrubs. Everything else then works around the shrubs, paying attention to mature height of the plants so that tall plants are in the back so as not to block the view of lower growing plants. Play with different leaf shapes, colors, and textures. I tend to stagger plants in groupings instead of straight rows and typically purchase plants in 3s or 5s with some single plant show pieces here and there.
USDA Zone 7a, Sunset Zone 32
"The earth laughs in flowers" -Ralph Waldo Emerson

imafan26
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Joined: Tue Jan 01, 2013 1:32 pm
Location: hawaii, zone 12a 587 ft elev.

Re: Help getting started with Perennial garden

I have not used the BHG planting plan, mainly because where I live the plants don't work, but you can use the concept and substitute.

If this is a bed that will have a 360 degree view then taller plants will go in the middle. If it is to be viewed from one side then taller plants go in the back.

Is the shape a rectangle, circle, oval, kidney bean or free form?

What is the style of your garden and the colors and style of your house? A garden should be designed in scale with the house and minimize the colors unless you like the cottage look.

The plants you have will work. You have mostly yellows and pinks and that will go with some of the lighter oranges and reds, or for some contrast some blues.

This BHG will work with some substitutions

https://www.bhg.com/gardening/plans/dram ... nial-bulb/

The tree could be a crepe myrtle, I like Little Chief. It is smaller and comes in a couple of colors. I have the pink one. It does go bare for part of the year but the flowers last a few weeks in summer and the foliage is nice when it is around.

Another choice would be flowering crab apple, they come in white, pink or red and bloom in the Spring.

any other tall accent will work. Select something you like that has a nice structure and will act as a focal point.

The phlox and coreopsis would good for a low edging around the bed

Geraniums or pelargoniums can be planted as medium height plants on either side of the bed. Geraniums spread so you only need one plant per grouping. Some of the geraniums have patterns on their foliage.


Iris will be seasonal and can be planted in groupings of 3-5. Since they won't be around all year, you want them to be able to pop out from shorter plants.

I am not familiar with buttercups as I cannot grow them. If they are taller, then group them as a mid level plant.

Besides flowers, consider foliage as accent. When flowers are not in bloom the structure of the garden will be maintained by foliage

Some gray leaved plants like sage, Dusty Miller, will give foliage color and texture even when they are not in bloom

Although this is a perennial bed, I still would like to have some annual color thrown in, since annuals will give you a much longer bloom period than perennials. I like alyssum, it can also be a border plant. Sage and marigolds do not require a lot of care and will bloom for a very long time and the bonus is that they do attract beneficial insects to the garden.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

AlisaB
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Joined: Thu May 14, 2015 12:21 am
Location: Nashville, TN Zone 6B

Re: Help getting started with Perennial garden

Thanks for all the suggestions so far. Where do you buy and when do you buy your bulbs for planting?

imafan26
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Joined: Tue Jan 01, 2013 1:32 pm
Location: hawaii, zone 12a 587 ft elev.

Re: Help getting started with Perennial garden

I am limited to the box stores since most companies will not ship to Hawaii. I can't get onions, garlic, or asparagus unless I find a company that ships here.

I have to be careful what I get because I have to get them soon after the store receives the order, they don't take very good care of the plants. I also have to make sure they will grow here before I buy them. The big box stores buy products for stores all over and often send things that won't work out here very well unless you have a specific micro climate .

Other things like amaryllis, agapanthus, day lilies, and some of the walking irises are sold here or it is possible to get some of them from people who have them when they thin them out. I have glads that were planted years ago still popping up.
I can plant dahlias from seeds and the tubers will live on.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

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