Perennial good looks

Flowering plants are placed into categories indicative of their life cycles. Annuals that grow from seed produce their flowers and fruit (seed) before dying within a single season. Biennials take two years to repeat the same process, while perennial plants will continue to produce flowers and seed year after year.

Like works of art and interior decorating colour schemes, certain types of plants have enjoyed periods of popularity. In the late 19thcentury many notable gardeners like Gertrude Jekyllwould highlightplants of colour or texture in borders or containers.

One of the greatest advantages of perennials is that they are eminently portable. If you happen to find you have them in the wrong spot then they can be moved at almost any time of year.

LASTING PRESENCE: Perennials mixed with herbs and annuals can make a garden really sing, and they don’t mind if you move them around to find the right spot, either.

Newly released varieties are regularly promoted in garden magazines or on TV gardening programs. Online, David Glenn from Lambley Nursery in Victoria not only collects rarity but looks for plants that will grow vigorously without being invasive, as well as looking good over a long period of time.

All David’s plants are frost and drought hardy and ornamental grasses are a particular farourite. He says many find it hard to imagine a garden without them.

The Lambley Nursery catalogue is not just packed with pretty pictures but down to earth perceptive profiles that will appeal to those who seek decorative value-for-money perennials.

Every one of a small group of silver and grey plants has great merit.Artemesia absinthium ‘Lambrook Silver’ is considered to be one of the best, neatest and longest lived – providing a mound of silky, much divided, shimmering silver leaves.

Alongside violas, and knifophia (red hot pokers) which range in colour from red to green,salvias belong to a large genus of plants – annuals as well as shrubs.

The herbaceous perennials in particular are valued additions to the border, not only for their ease of cultivation but the many shades of blue and violet which are hard to find in the summer border.S. patenshas deep blue flowers while ‘Cambridge Blue’ is paler. Both plants will flower from summer to late autumn and dormant roots can be set out in winter and spring.