Six of the best perennials to grow in 2015

By Andy McIndoe

Rather than make any more predictions about the coming year, I decided to share my thoughts on six perennials that I’ve noticed over the past year that I intend to grow. They are not necessarily new, but they are all plants that perform well and are bound to become firm favourites, if not already.

[caption id="attachment_9853" align="alignleft" width="550"]Agastache 'Blue Fortune' Agastache 'Blue Fortune'[/caption]

2 Hosta 'So Sweet'

The giant hyssop, Agastache ‘Blue Fortune’ has made appearances all over the place in the past couple of years. This North American prairie native is a good late summer and fall performer and is much loved by bees and butterflies.  It is easy to grow in any sunny situation and mixes well with shrubs, grasses and other perennials.  It is a good blue to follow on from the salvias and earlier geraniums.  I will probably grow it with nepeta, penstemons and scabious alongside the terrace where we can enjoy the insect activity.

Hosta ‘So Sweet’ is a bit of a surprise. Bright green leaves with yellow margins, turning to white as the season progresses. In late summer the lavender white flowers appear. Now I am not a great lover of hosta flowers, and usually I can’t wait to get rid of them, but the fragrance of these is wonderful. I saw some really good plants in Savill Garden, Windsor Great Park in August and the scent was superb. They were also surprisingly untouched by slugs and snails. I’m not making any claims: I expect it is purely a coincidence.

3 Iberis 'Appen Etz'

Iberis sempervirens ‘Appen Etz’ is a real star. This lovely little sub-shrub has dark green foliage and pure white candytuft flowers from early winter onwards.  It’s a great choice for pots, alongside paving, a rock garden or a sunny bank. It is also a great plant for coastal gardens.  For me it’s the ideal plant for an old shallow stone sink, that I always have problems planting.

4 Lupinus 'Persian Slipper'

Lupins do well in my garden on sandy, slightly acidic soil.  They are such stunning plants for early summer if they perform.  I came across Lupinus ‘Persian Slipper’ in the Centenary border at the Sir Harold Hillier Gardens on a warm sunny day. Strong, compact with good dark green foliage. The flowerspikes are crowded with blooms of a wonderful soft blue with a hint of mauve and a powerful and delicious fragrance.  This isn’t a variety you will see everywhere, but it is worth looking out for – I will be.

[caption id="attachment_9857" align="alignleft" width="550"]Leucanthemum 'Victorian Secret' Leucanthemum 'Victorian Secret'[/caption]

There have been lots of new varieties of Shasta daisy in the past few years. They are useful summer perennials with lots of charm and simplicity; good pollinator plants too.  Having said that I rarely use them in the garden. However Leucanthemum ‘Victorian Secret’ is one on my list: cream, semi-double flowers of great sophistication. The blooms are long lasting and good for cutting. When you think about it there are few good cream flowers, so when you find one like this it is particularly valuable.

[caption id="attachment_9858" align="alignleft" width="550"]Scabiosa 'Vivid Violet' Scabiosa 'Vivid Violet'[/caption]

My final choice is a scabious, pincushion flower, another plant favoured by bees and butterflies.  There are lots of new varieties of these sun lovers: those with small flowers and a few larger blooming varieties. I don’t imagine that Scabiosa ‘Vivid Violet’ will be a long-lasting garden plant, but the colour is stunning so it is worth growing, even if it only lasts for a year or two. Scabious like drier, alkaline soils, however I’m on acid sand and they seem to thrive.

Well that’s my six top tips for perennials for 2015 – any ideas? Do post any recommendations below and share with other My Garden School followers.


Andy McIndoe

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