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Perennial plants include a long list of flowering plants, bulbs and shrubs. Trees are also technically perennial “woody” plants. One of the most popular of flowering shrubs is the rose. There are so many different varieties of roses, including more than one hundred species of wild roses, many gardeners consider them to be in their own separate category. Besides their obvious beauty and fragrant qualities, roses have many different uses, as well. They are often used in the landscape as a privacy hedge and even for security purposes due to their sharp thorns. (if planted under windows, for example, they can help prevent break-ins.) Roses are very high in Vitamin C and rose hips are sometimes eaten. They can also be used to make herbal tea, jam or jelly. The aesthetic qualities of roses is second to none, and they are lovely, whether fresh or dried.

Other perennial plants include popular shrubs like Lilacs, Hydrangea, Butterfly Bush (Buddleia,) and Peonies. Shrubs are often used as foundation plants or a shrub border, but blooming shrubs can also find their place in the perennial garden. They provide a sense of structure and substance to the garden. There are generally two types: those that die back to the ground in winter and send up new shoots in the spring. Others are hardy shrubs that change with the seasons and provide year round enjoyment. Specifically, Lilacs are a species of flowering plant in the olive family and are native to Europe and Asia. Lilacs are considered deciduous shrubs or small trees that flower in the early spring. The lovely Peony is the only genus in the flowering plant family Paeoniaceae. Most peonies are herbaceous perennial plants but some are woody shrubs. For more information, please see our section on “Perennial Shrubs.”

With careful planning, your perennial garden can have color throughout the seasons, spring, summer and fall. Perennial plants such as Daffodils and Crocus will bloom just as spring makes it‘s first arrival, followed by Moss Phlox, Coral Bells, Creeping Phlox, Astillbes, Bloodroot and other early spring bloomers. Later in summer, your perennial garden will be in full bloom with Coreopsis, Shasta Daisy, Coneflower, Roses, Foxglove, Tall Phlox, Lavender and many more. Fall blooming perennials include most Sedums, Asters and Mums. Perennial plants number in the hundreds. Some perennial plants have specific purposes such as ground covers, while others are used to attract butterflies or hummingbirds. More of these uses are discussed in our section on Perennial Gardens. Herbs are also perennial plants. In fact, many of the plants we know as annuals, perennials and shrubs are actually herbs. Herbs, with their many culinary, medicinal and aromatic uses, make exceptional and interesting perennial plants. Generally speaking, herbs are perennial plants with two types: a medicinal herb may be a shrub or other woody plant, while a culinary herb is a non-woody plant, typically using just the leaves.


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