The eternal question when planning a garden is whether to include perennials or annuals in your design. The right answer is somewhere in the middle as both varieties of plants are used for different purposes.
Perennials are plants that return every year, require little maintenance and will produce attractive, fragrant flowers – but for only for a specific time during the growing season. If you opt to only grow perennials, the trick is to select varieties that have staggered blooming times so that you always have colour in your garden. Otherwise, you will have one glorious burst of colour from all of your plants at once and then have only their green leaves for company the rest of the summer.
Perennials are ideal for xeriscapes and for large gardens as they provide a consistent backdrop against which to plant other flowers.
Annuals are plants that flower for only one season and then die. They are grown from seed, produce really bright, attractive blooms and then seed. The beauty of annuals is that they will flower for the entire growing season giving you masses of lovely flowers for the entire summer. The drawback with annuals is that you have to plant them every year, which is costlier and more time-consuming than only having perennials in your garden.
Annuals are ideal for mixed borders, planters and areas of high visibility where you want a lot of show.
The ideal situation for any garden is to have a mix of annuals and perennials. The perennials should form the backbone of your garden that is then complemented by the annuals that you include in your design. Matching the annuals to your perennials in terms of colour and texture will produce a truly attractive garden that will provide colour and spectacle throughout the summer.
A good mix of both annuals and perennials will also ensure that you are not stuck having to replant your entire garden every year.
Choosing the plants to include in your landscape is probably one of the more pleasing aspect of gardening. Watching them grow, flower and reproduce can provide years of enjoyment to any homeowner – even those who leave the gardening to others.