Hardy perennials

The perennials selected for you are the basic ingredients for gardens as we like them: full of spontaneity, old charm and humour, because they often have a surprise in store for us!

There is a considerable variety of shapes, colours, textures and fragrances to choose from to create a garden unlike any other. You will find a combination of rare botanical species, the latest perennial extravagance selected by the breeders for horticultural production and the simple favourites of yesteryear.

Perennials, an infinite palette of plants

They originate in temperate climates. Their native habitat provides us with information about their growing requirements and they often develop interesting adaptations as they acclimatise. A few examples:

  • perennials from rocky Mediterranean meadows with an arid climate; the succulent foliage of the Sedums, the cushion habit of the Dianthus (pinks), the summer dormancy of the Cyclamens;
  • Japanese anemones and Hostas, native to East Asia (China, Japan) grow in the shade on rocks, escarpments and in regions with humid summers;
  • Kniphofia (Tritoma) from South African grasslands prefer peaty and moist soils in summer, but dry in winter;
  • plants native to the mountainous areas of the Himalayas enjoy cool shade in summer and do not acclimatise well to a Mediterranean climate or a continental climate with hot summers;
  • plants from alpine grasslands or rockeries love to feel a little damp in their roots and sun and wind on their upper parts exposed to the air;

Correctly choosing your perennials involves understanding their future environment (climate, type of soil, exposure, etc.) and gauging their ability to adapt to this environment, which might require additions such as wind breaks, winter protection, organic or mineral amendments or extra shade.

Very happily, however, there are perennials for every gardener and every garden.

For your info: the mountainous regions of East Asia in the foothills of the Himalayas often have cloud cover. High levels of humidity, sloping terrain and stony soil, are growing conditions often very difficult to reproduce in our gardens. This is why, for example, gardeners often fail to acclimatise the mythical Himalayan Blue Poppy (Meconopsis betonicifolia). However, successful cultivation is possible in a temperate oceanic climate sheltered from drying winds: in moist undergrowth near the sea.

Perennial plants - Print of Paris quadrifolia

Paris quadrifolia - Prof. Dr. Otto Wilhelm Thomé
Flora von Deutschland, Österreich und der Schweiz 1885, Gera, Germany

Perennials in the garden

From the 19th century onwards, perennials have been grown in beds, such as the English mixed border. This is a plot devoted to growing perennials, where they do not have to compete with the roots of trees or shrubs, which allows easy access for maintenance, weeding and the addition of amendments and mulch at the end of winter.

Nowadays, there are as many ways of using perennials as there are gardeners or gardens!

In alpine greenhouse pots, troughs, rock gardens, mixed with annuals, roses, shrubs, on slopes as ground cover, in natural meadows, en masse for a contemporary design effect, etc.

Tip: to make maintenance easier so that your garden remains a source of leisure, it's a good idea to systematically mulch the soil. For beds in partial shade with good garden soil, ordinary soil or for pot growing, the preferred types of mulch are ramial chipped wood, organic fertilising mulch or coarse compost. Mulches should be applied on soil that is not completely dry, has been weeded beforehand, loosened and amended with compost (3kg/m²). Allow for about fifty litres per square metre and refresh every two years.

For rockeries, the gravel garden technique is a good solution. However, the use of woven or non-woven plastic mulch does not make agronomic sense and should be avoided in our gardens.

Combinations of perennial plants

How to combine plants in the garden is an astonishingly vast subject! For the sake of simplicity, we can make a rough division into two parts:

Landscaping combinations

Plants are chosen for their qualities including the shapes of leaves and flowers, their textures and habits and their colours, all of which contribute to creating a harmonious composition.

From the 1870s-1880s onwards, the English school of gardening, following the lead of the famous Gertrude Jekyll, popularised perennials in the garden and the ways of combining them. After her came gardeners such as E.A Bowles, Margery Fish, Christopher Lloyd, Alan Bloom, Beth Chatto and Piet Oudolf. New generations of “landscape gardeners” who influenced the development of gardens with landscaping innovations and the creation of new varieties. Several perennials bear their names. And the adventure goes on...

Natural combinations of perennial plants

Natural combinations can be easier to implement Nonetheless, a sound knowledge of plants is indispensable!

It is a question of combining plants originating from the same geographical region: American prairies, alpine grasslands, damp Himalayan foothills, wet South African meadowland or the coastal heaths of Brittany ;-)

The two volume book of “Perennials” by Roger Philips and Martin Rix, Pan, 1993, gives us a beautiful example of the reconstitution of a dry Mediterranean slope with hot, dry summers and mild, damp winters and springs: Lavandula, Cistus, bearded irises, Euphorbia characias, Asphodeline lutea, Echinops ritro, Stipa gigantea, Centranthus ruber, Origanum, Euphorbia myrsinites and Euphorbia rigida, Erysimum, Phlomis, Anchuza azurea, Dictamnus albus.

a perennial plant : Penstemon heterophyllus

Penstemon heterophyllus - Revue Horticole - 1901

The right plant in the right place

Our advanced search engine is the result of many years of experience and allows multiple combinations. Once you have defined the main search criteria, e.g. exposure, soil type, etc., the search results can be a great source of inspiration. Your turn to play

Our catalogue of perennial plants

Our collection of perennial plants is organised with the following classification:

Showing 1 - 3 of 3 items
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