In recent months, my ability to garden has reduced further due to my ME symptoms getting worse. I can do small amounts of gardening, potting up the odd alpine or smaller perennial, a bit of deadheading, but have to leave anything else to the fortnightly visit from my gardener Andrea.
However, some plants don’t crave much of your time. Even in pots, my hardy perennials have yet again proved their worth. With almost no attention apart from cutting back the old foliage from last year in Spring, and a little watering, they just get on with the job of growing and flowering. If I do manage to do a little deadheading, then some of them will flower for months and months.
Here is what has been flowering and giving me a lot of pleasure over the last couple of months.
Dianthus cruentus, pretty by the front door
Salvia nemorosa ‘Ostfriesland’
Astrantia ‘Hapsden Blood’
The colours of Crocosmia x crocosmiiflora ‘Irish Dawn’ &
Lavandula angustifolia ‘Hidcote’ looking very good together
Helenium ‘Sahin’s Early Flowerer’
Primula veris, cowslip, flowering out of season.
Erysimum ‘Bowles’s Mauve’
The young lime-green foliage of Osmunda regalis ‘Purpurascens’
Anemone hupehensis var. japonica ‘Splendens’
The underside of Anemone hupehensis var. japonica ‘Splendens’
The emerging flowers of Panicum virgatum ‘Squaw’.
Looking good despite the cat frequently chewing on the leaves.
Anemone x hybrida ‘Honorine Jobert’
Sollya heterophylla (bluebell creeper)
Lewisia ‘Brynhyfryd’ pink hybrid, fully flowering for a second time this year.
An alpine and a Hardy Perennial.
Salvia x jamensis ‘Nachtvlinder’
Crocosmia x crocosmiiflora ‘Carmin Brillant’
Flowering for months in the front garden, pink Valerian and
Although I can do little in the garden at the moment, these plants have been giving me joy daily, even on the days when all I can do is sit and look at them from my bedroom. If you are gardening with ME or another chronic illness, hardy perennials are a wonder and can definitely earn their place in your garden.
If you want to know more about growing hardy perennials, a good place to start is with the Hardy Plant Society.
Despite plenty of ‘normal’ grass, Freya likes to chew on my ornamental ones. Cats.
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I’d love to hear your thoughts and comments on your growing experiences, so don’t be shy!
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3 thoughts on “Gardening with ME: the wonder of Hardy Perennials”
What a strange time to have cowslip flowers. We have one or two magnolia flowers that are out of season too.
What gorgeous flowers!
A lovely piece and some beautiful photos. There is work involved in preparing the ground and planting up initially, but hardy perennials reward that effort often with months of flowering every year. It's relevant not only to those with a chronic illness, but also as people get older, or even those who are younger but with lots of demands on their time.