This Year’s Must-Have Perennial

Published by Bucks Country Gardens in Plants

Over the past few weeks, many of us have been busy planting container after container of blooming annual flowers around the deck and patio. The last hanging basket was placed out front on the porch and everything is bursting with color just in time for summer. So, now that it’s June, if you can believe that…what’s next?

Well, the perennial season is just getting started, in fact June is National Perennial Gardening Month, and many perennials are blooming now or just budding up to bloom. Perennials are the backbone to every landscape and garden bed, and provide an easy return on your investment of time and money by coming back each year bigger and better. Available in a wide variety of sizes, colors, foliage texture, and blooming seasons; there is definitely something for every one and a solution to every landscaping conundrum. In my opinion, there is nothing better than a perennial border in full bloom!

Every year the Perennial Plant Association chooses a Perennial of the Year. And the winner for 2014 is… Panicum virgatum ‘Northwind,’also known as a type of switchgrass. This easy-to-grow ornamental grass is an excellent choice for any landscape, and adaptable to almost any soil type. It is sure to survive our PA winters, since it is hardy from Zone 4-10. This grass performs best in full sun but will tolerate light shade. Once established, it is drought tolerant, due to its deep roots, but will do fine in an occasionally wet area.           ‘Northwind’ has many great qualities, other than being easy to grow; the blue-green foliage stands more erect than typical species maturing to about 5 ft tall. Its main feature is its slender and narrow upright form. The clumps spread year after year to about 2-3 ft wide. This grass provides long lasting interest throughout spring, summer, and fall. In the summer, the foliage is topped with a haze of showy, finely-textured flower panicles, while in the fall ‘Northwind’ turns to a gorgeous golden color. It is also rarely eaten by deer, which gets an extra star in my book. This grass is great planted alone in the garden to create a stunning vertical accent, or planted in mass or a grouping for a dramatic backdrop to any garden bed. Try planting the following companion perennials to go along with this ornamental switchgrass: Catmint, Echinacea ‘Magnus’, Sedum ‘Autumn Fire’, or Black Eyed Susans.

I think I have just the right spot to try out  the 2014 Perennial of the Year in my garden. How about you? Stop by the Garden Center and celebrate National Perennial Gardening Month with us. All perennials are 20% off, with special buy 1, get 1 free deals each week.

Becky Jones | Green Goods Manager