Perennials – the taller ones
Some start over and over again – others plant perennials. Landscape architect Heiner Luz explains what makes the perennial plants so valuable.
Sustainable romance: Already five years old and still in love as on the first day, giant leek (Allium ‘Globemaster’), steppe sage (Salvia nemorosa ‘Caradonna’), catnip (Nepeta x faassenii ‘Walkers Low’) and bog Riding grass (Calamagrostis x acutiflora ‘Karl Förster’). Between the white woodruff and blue lungwort flowers (Galium odoratum, Pulmonaria angustifolia ‘Blue Ensign’), the bronze-colored pinnate record sheet (Rodgersia pinnata ‘Chocolate Wings’) stands out. Minimalistic: shield leaf (Darmera peltata), elven flowers (Epimedium) and bamboo underline the clear shapes of the water feature and at the same time soften it ñ and that since the Federal Horticultural Show in Cologne in 1971. The high Solomon’s seal (Polygonatum x hybridum ‘Weihenstephan’) leans elegantly towards the petite woodruff (Galium odoratum). The brown cranesbill (Geranium phaeum ‘Samobor’) fascinates with its dark purple flowers and decorative leaf markings. Caption: The magic of transience: In the BernePark in Bottrop, grasses and shrubs with attractive fruit stands ensure that there is no boredom, even in late autumn and winter.
Perennials – the long masters:
It is as if spring itself had kissed the warming earth: by the thousands, bright white woodruff flowers mix with clusters of ocean-blue lungwort bells, brand the fresh green of columbine and brown cranesbill and gently wash around the pinnate-leaved record sheet and the elegantly curved shoots of the High Solomon’s Seal. The example from Trädgårdsföreningen Park in Gothenburg, Sweden, shows impressively how beautiful pictures can be created with just a few types of plants. The creator of this 2007 dream in green, white and blue is the landscape architect Heiner Luz from Munich. His favorite tools: shrubs.
In top form for decades:
“What fascinates me about perennials is the unbelievable variety of colors and scents, leaf and flower shapes. And they stand for the magic of transience, ”says Luz, explaining his enthusiasm for perennial plants. “Coneflower (Rudbeckia), Indian nettle (Monarda) and other prairie plants, for example, form attractive seed heads. Numerous grasses also give the garden structure in winter – many are even evergreen. ”Not to be forgotten: In contrast to annual plants, perennials are a sustainable investment. Christmas roses (Helleborus), for example, can easily live to be 25 years old, peonies (Paeoni-a) often even break the century mark. “As many former garden shows prove, a perennial discount can be a feast for the eyes for decades. Provided that it continuously receives professional care. “
Minimal care – maximum pleasure:
It is crucial that the selected plants match the location. “So you have to look carefully at how much light they get at the respective place and what the soil is like,” emphasizes the internationally active landscape architect. If perennials are to grow in the garden for which the soil is too nutrient-rich, for example, it must be exchanged or emaciated with sand and gravel. If the plants feel good and if their growth behavior is in harmony with one another, this enormously reduces the amount of care required. “The perennials then quickly form a closed ground cover. This largely rules out the immigration of plants that are commonly referred to as weeds. ”In Luz’s plantation in Gothenburg, for example, forest masters (Galium odoratum) and brown cranesbill (Geranium phaeum ‘Samobor’) keep wild herbs at bay, without the rest Too much pressure on plants. The maintenance work is usually limited to occasional watering and fertilizing as well as pruning in early spring.
Professional knowledge for hobby gardeners:
When it comes to ease of care, hobby gardeners benefit from the experience that Heiner Luz and other landscape architects gained when planning public green spaces – there, maintenance must be particularly quick and easy due to a lack of money and staff. For this reason, concepts for mixed perennial plantings have been developed at horticultural teaching and research institutes in Germany, Austria and Switzerland in recent years, which significantly reduce the amount of maintenance required. Interested hobby gardeners can find detailed information and sources of supply for the plants they need on the Internet at www.staudenverendung.de.
Expert tip: keep your eyes open when choosing a variety:
Perennials are a bit like fine porcelain: They come in numerous variants, they are timelessly beautiful and you can expand your collection at any time (or replace a damaged specimen if necessary). As with porcelain, however, there are also differences in quality with the perennial varieties. The Munich landscape architect Heiner Luz therefore advises hobby gardeners to seek advice from a gardener they trust before buying plants, or to find out about recommended varieties from the “Perennial Sighting Working Group”. As part of the perennial inspection, the varieties to be assessed are grown over several years at various locations in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. Test criteria include abundant flowering, duration of flowering, stability and resistance to diseases and pests. The results are available free of charge on the website www.staudensichtung.de.
TEXT: The Green Media House (GMH / BdS);
Photos: Christiane Bach, Bettina Banse, Nicholas Delahooke, Cassian Schmidt
Those who do longer – some always start over – others plant perennials.