There are so many herbaceous perennials it’s hard to know where to start. Although the main season is from late spring to late autumn, even through the winter months Bergenia and Heuchera have a good show of leaves. If you leave the dead stems on your herbaceous perennials until the spring they can look amazing covered in frost aswell as providing seed heads for the birds to feed on during the winter. There are herbaceous perennials for all aspects and soil types, even in semi-shade. Where there is a space between, shrubs or under trees make sure you plant some herbaceous perennials, they need little attention and will repay you by flowering year after year.
All herbaceous perennials need is a tidy up at the beginning of the season, a feed and some mulch around them to stop the weeds choking them and they will grow quite happily. Tall flowering varieties will need some form of support for their flowers, this can be put in place just as they start to show some new growth.
There are so many colour schemes to choose from mauves, pinks and blues; or zingy reds, yellows and oranges. When plant herbaceous perennials every time you walk through your garden there will alway be plants bursting into flower providing nectar for insects, each plant coming into it’s own for a few days or weeks of the season. Try some architectural perennials, with different shaped leaves or even grasses.
Top spring herbaceous perennials
Anemone blanda (winter windflower)
A compact rhizomatous perennial with dark green and violet-blue, pink or white daisy-like flowers opening in spring. Plant pot grown Anemone blanda in full sun or partial shade in well-drained, humus-rich soil or plant the tubers in bold drifts 5-8cm (2-3”) deep during September or October. Height and spread 15cm (6”).
Tiarella cordifolia (Foamflower)
A stoloniferous herbaceous perennial with 3 to 5-lobbed, broadly ovate leaves becoming bronze tinged in autumn, and erect stems bearing open bottle-brush racemes of small creamy-white flowers during May-June. A damp, wet woodland plant, essential to interlink taller shade loving plants. Height and spread 30cm (12”).
Brunnera mac. ‘Hadspen Cream’ (Siberian bugloss)
Is an herbaceous perennial forming a clump to 45cm, with sprays of small, clear blue flowers in spring, followed by heart-shaped leaves, broadly margined with yellowish-cream. Height 45cm, spread 60cm (18” x 24”)
Bergenia ‘Rosenkristall’ (Elephant’s Ears)
Has beautiful, big heads of mid-pink flowers during March and April held above the large, glossy, evergreen foliage. Hardy and perennial, lasting for many years. Prefers full sun or partial shade in moist but well-drained soil, good ground cover. Height 35cm, spread 60cm (14” x 24”)
Pulmonaria ‘Trevi Fountain’ (Lungwort)
Has strikingly spotted with silver, the dark green foliage of this pretty Lungwort makes a perfect foil for the trumpet-shaped flowers, which are a vivid cobalt blue. Height 35cm, spread 45cm (14” x 18”).