After the tulips, daffodils and forget-me-nots have had their fun, it is time for the perennials to begin to take to the stage, with their tremendous ability to produce an abundance of colour and drama in any space. Set in the heart of the Cotswolds, Barnsley House has beautiful perennials that provide a splash of colour throughout the year. Here, Head Gardener, Jennifer Danbury, shares her top tips:
Image: Clematis durandii
Early in the summer Aquilegia enjoy the sun. These are delicate looking flowers on a strong plant, making a trouble-free, unfussy and a welcome self-seeder throughout the garden. Clematis durandii also comes quite early in the season. At Barnsley House, it matches the gates to the Temple Garden, providing a wonderful strong blue as you enter. This plant, like other clematis, does not like too much sun on its roots, so we have plenty of planting nearby providing shade to the area. It needs tying in as any loose stems will trail along the ground and flower.
Image: Epilobium angustifolium album
Epilobium angustifolium album is a cousin of the common rosebay willow herb you may see growing around the edge of fields. Designed by Rosemary Verey, the garden at Barnsley House takes inspiration from nature, such as hedgerows and wild woodland edges, to produce a naturalistic look. Epilobium is a good choice: it reaches the stately height of 1.5m (5ft) and does not require staking. This is a romantic plant, moving gently in the breeze, enhancing the relaxed atmosphere of its surroundings. It is not as invading as its cousins, but it is a good idea to cut off the flowers just before they mature to prevent unwanted seedlings. This plant loves the sun and is not fussy about which soil type it grows in.
Image: Salvia Officinalis purpurascens
One plant that has become very popular in recent years is the salvia or sage. Here we love Salvia Officinalis Purpurascens or purple sage to its friends. This is a tough Mediterranean plant and very desirable as a fresh culinary herb in the hotel’s Potager Restaurant. It offers colour and texture for a long period, with lovely light blue flowers blooming late in the summer through to autumn. The scent is wonderful as you run your hands through it when walking by.
No garden is complete without perennials and many are easy to propagate with seed or cuttings. Perhaps try dividing and sharing plants with family and friends, too. Whatever you like, and however big or small your garden is, there will be one that’s right for you.