5 More Easy Going Perennials

Summer Colour

Unless you’re a fanatical gardener or have a lot of time on your hands, you’ll probably be looking for plants you don’t have to replant and you don’t have to pamper.

Here are 5 really easy going perennials you’ll definitely want to check out because they exactly fit your wish list for easy to plant, easy to grow and easy to look after!

easy going perennialsSwitch Grass – Prairie Winds® Panicum
Native switch grasses are amongst the easiest ornamental grasses to grow. These hardy perennials will grow in any soil whether sand or clay, and in any moisture level, from dry to wet, but they do need full sun. Plant as wherever you need a privacy hedge, or a nice strong background or a Fall landscape focal point.
Cut foliage back in late winter / early spring.

easy going perennialsCatmint ‘Cat’s Meow’ Nepeta
This is a hugely popular perennial! It blooms in late spring with a dense mass of vibrant periwinkle purple flowers. Bees, butterflies and hummingbirds love catmint. ‘Cat’s Meow’ is a lower maintenance Proven Winner’s selection because it forms a nice, tidy mound without pruning and won’t sprawl all over adjacent plants. It loves full sun and very well-drained, dryish soil.

easy going perennialsLavender Sweet Romance® Lavandula
Sweetly fragrant lavender is one of our favourites. We love the rich violet purple flowers of Sweet Romance which blooms from early summer through fall, with new flowers appearing throughout the growing season. Gorgeous in bouquets, sachets, sweet treats, and lemonade as well as a host of other things!
Sweet Romance is very easy to grow in a sunny, dry spot in sandy or very well-drained soil. Don’t fertilize. Trim back lightly in spring if necessary.

easy going perennialsFalse Indigo – Decadence® Baptisia
Baptisia, commonly known as false indigo is one of the longest-lived perennials and is native to the prairies. the Decadence variety grows to 2 ½-3’ tall and wide. It is very drought tolerant once established and loves full sun and heat. Doesn’t need fertilizing or deadheading. In fact, don’t cut off dead blooms, or its decorative seed pods won’t form. So just plant it, then leave it be and it will be fabulous!

easy going perennialsBaby’s Breath: Festival Star™ Gypsophila
Festival Star is a game changer when it comes to baby’s breath. This improved selection blooms from late spring through to fall without deadheading or going summer dormant, and its short 12-18” height is easy to manage. This plant needs good drainage to grow well, so if you have clay, add mulch and organic material to add drainage. Loves the sun and it can dry out a bit before being watered. Feel free to clip some of its fragrant blooms for your fresh or dried bouquets. New flowers will quickly take their place.

 

Avoid Allergy Triggers In Your Garden:

Allergy Triggers In Your Garden

Avoid Allergy Triggers In Your Garden:

Allergy Triggers In Your GardenSpring and Summer are wonderful times to get out into the garden and enjoy getting close to nature – unless, of course, you have allergies.

If you’re unfortunate enough to suffer from allergies triggered by pollen and plants, then you’ll want to eradicate the culprits and replace them with plants that will allow you to enjoy your garden without the runny nose, streaming eyes and itchy throat.

First we’ll tell you about some of the common allergy triggers and then we’ll give you a list of plants that will be easier to live with.  It might mean you have to dig up some of your favourites, but, you’ll find that there are equally beautiful alternatives that will allow you to enjoy the outdoors without those nasty side effects.

Common allergy triggers:

Allergy Triggers In Your GardenSunflower: who doesn’t love these giant, sunny blooms? Unfortunately they’re also prone to setting off nasty allergic reactions.

Chamomile: yes, this calming herb is a hay fever trigger.  If you’re especially sensitive, it can also react with your skin and you’ll find drinking Chamomile anything but calming.

Daisies: many of us love those cheerful, down-to-earth blooms, but the pollen, the leaves and even the flowers are often very effective allergy triggers.

Jasmine: this beautifully perfumed vine is also a big allergy trigger – and as we often have this plant indoors or in containers near the house, it’s probably best to avoid it.

Juniper:  one of our B.C. landscape staples, Juniper can cause hay fever and skin rashes.

Allergy Triggers In Your GardenWisteria: it’s such a pity that this showy vine is a quick way to suffer a severe bout of hay fever and even skin rashes.

If you’re feeling a bit disheartened because we’ve pinpointed one or more of your favourite plants, we have good news.  There are alternatives that are just as pretty and rewarding to grow.

Here are some of the easiest alternatives to grow in our climate:

Allergy Triggers In Your GardenEnglish lavender (Lavandula angustifolia). There are any number of lavenders, and you no doubt know, these plants are the ultimate multi-taskers.  The gorgeous purple flowers in Summer can be used for tea, soap, baking, cooking and many other uses.  Lavender is a compact shrub with silvery green leaves – indicating that it’s also a great addition to the xeriscape garden.  It’s not just humans that love lavender, so do pollinators!  It’s hardy, loves everything from full sun to part shade and doesn’t need much water. Simply trim back when flowering is over.

Allergy Triggers In Your GardenRosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis). Rosemary shares many characteristics with Lavender, but has a few more variations including upright, bushy, weeping or creeping varieties. It grows between 1 and 8’ high but will spread as far as allowed. It also attracts your favourite pollinators and is a wonderful addition to your culinary efforts.

Rosemary doesn’t require much maintenance. It doesn’t like too much water and will grow in relatively poor soil. Cut back tips to shape it. Hardiness depends on the specific variety so check with your garden center as to which variety is best for your location.

Allergy Triggers In Your GardenMint (Mentha spp.). If you’re looking for a plant to fill up bare spaces, then mint is it!  It spreads aggressively.  And that’s fine because you can use mint in cooking, baking and in teas!  It’s hardy, easy to grow and doesn’t require much maintenance at all.  Mint grows to about 2’ tall but will spread as far as you allow it to. It likes everything from full sun to part shade.

Allergy Triggers In Your GardenWoolly thyme (Thymus pseudolanuginosus) is an excellent ground cover that grows quickly and in almost any kind of environment. It has small leafed green foliage and small pink flowers throughout summer and grows about 2 – 3” high and about 3’ wide. Woolly thyme likes full sun and requires very little water once established so it’s perfect for xeriscaping. Can be used as a lawn replacement, a wall adornment or anywhere you need some low maintenance cover. All that’s necessary is to trim it back periodically. It attracts butterflies, bees and other pollinators.  It’s hardy to -28.9 C, so it can survive even a cold winter like our last one.

Allergy Triggers In Your Garden hummingbirdsFall phlox (Phlox paniculata) produces fragrant white, pink, rose, red or lavender coloured flowers the whole summer. It’s perennial and very hardy, requiring very little maintenance.  All that’s necessary is to dead head and pinch back tips to encourage the plants to become more bushy instead of lanky.

 

Allergy Triggers In Your GardenClematis: a hardy, long flowering vine that rivals Wisteria for showiness. They like full sun to part shade – keep the roots shady and the rest of the plant in sun for best results.  They like well drained soil but do need regular watering and fertilizing.  They’ll also need some support to climb on. Depending on the variety, these vines can grow quite large – from 10’ to 20’.  Clematis offer a variety of flower colours including white, pink, purple and blue.

Allergy Triggers In Your GardenSweetpeas (Lathyrus spp.) come in varieties including annual and perennial, vines, bushes, and varieties that flower at different times.  They might not be quite as showy as Wisteria, but still offer lots of pretty flowers and fragrance to the garden without the allergy triggers.  They can be a little more picky about their environment, so before planting, check with your local garden center to ensure that your choice of location will yield good results. They require a little maintenance needing regular watering and dead heading.

Allergy Triggers In Your GardenGoldenrod (Solidago spp.) keeps the colour going with swathes of yellow flowers from late summer through the fall. Depending on the variety, they can grow as high as 8’ and will spread by seed.  If you don’t want them to spread, dead head before the seeds appear. If they do spread or become too dense, they can be divided in the Spring. Like many of the plants we’ve mentioned, these happy flowers are almost maintenance free and are especially attractive to pollinators.  They like anything from full sun to part shade and can do well in less than ideal soil conditions.

Allergy Triggers In Your GardenDaylilies (Hemerocallis hybrids)? are easy to grow, low maintenance, hardy perennials that love full sun. They do need regular water as soon as the temperatures warm in spring and right through to the beginning of winter. Daylilies grow 2.5 – 4’ tall and spread 2 to 3’. There are several varieties with different blooming times, and some even re-bloom.  You can choose evergreen, semievergreen and deciduous and can be divided if they become too dense.

Recipe: Lavender Biscotti

lavender-biscotti-recipe

Recipe: Lavender Biscotti

lavender-biscotti-recipeLavender is a versatile culinary herb and has been used for cooking and medicinally for over 2,500 years!  If you’ve never used Lavender flowers for baking, why not try it now?  It’s easy and you’ll love the results – not to mention enjoying the compliments of friends and family!

lavender-biscotti-recipe

LAVENDER BISCOTTI RECIPE:

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups flour
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. dried lavender blossoms
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup unsalted melted butter
  • 2 tsp. grated lemon zest
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract

Instructions:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Mix flour, baking powder and salt
  • Beat sugar and lavender blossoms together (either manually chop lavender flowers finely or use a food processor for this step)
  • Add eggs to the sugar and lavender flower mixture
  • Beat until it thickens – usually about 2 minutes
  • Beat in butter, lemon zest, & vanilla
  • Slowly add flour mixture
  • Blend with a wooden spoon until well mixed to a soft, sticky dough
  • Divide dough in half, then take one half of the dough and place it on a parchment-lined cookie sheet
  • Shape into a  log about 10-inch long and 3 inches wide.
  • Repeat with the second half of the dough on a second lined cookie sheet
  • Bake for 20 minutes or till crisp and golden but don’t over bake – make sure that the center is still soft
  • Remove from oven
  • Reduce oven heat to 300 degrees F.
  • Allow logs to cool for 10 minutes
  • Slice logs with a serrated knife into 1/2 inch slices
  • Put slices with the cut side up on the cookie sheets and bake another 15 minutes or until crisp and brown.
  • Remove cookies and allow to cool.
  • Store in an airtight container and eat within two weeks. Serve with tea or coffee.