Start planting new perennials as the soil is starting to warm up and they can get off to a flying start in your garden, filling it with colour and scent from early summer till the first frosts.
Perennials are the ideal choice for any new planting scheme, as they come back year after year and perform even better as they mature. Combine complementary colours like violet, blue, white and pink for a soft, soothing effect; or go for hot colours such as red, orange and purple for a combination to set your borders on fire.
Choose perennials which flower at different times of year so you have a long season of colour, and make sure your conditions are right for the plants you pick. In a sunny spot sun-lovers like irises, penstemons and hardy geraniums will be happiest; but in shade, you’ll have more success with Alchemilla, Monarda, bergenia and brunnera. If you’re not sure what to plant, pop in to the garden centre here in Henley on Thames and we’ll be happy to advise.
Prepare your ground well, forking over the soil to break up lumps, and removing any weeds or large stones before mixing in generous quantities of garden compost, soil improver or well-rotted farmyard manure.
Plant your perennials as soon as you get them home, as long as the ground isn’t frozen or waterlogged. Dig a hole a little larger than the pot, then ease your perennial out of its container. Place the plant in the hole so it’s the same depth as it was in the pot. Fill in around the plant with soil and firm down gently with your hands, then water in. Keep weeds at bay and water in dry spells and within a few weeks you’ll have a host of lovely new flowers to enjoy!