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Seven of the best hardy perennials

Gardening is fun and rewarding, but if you’d rather relax on your newly purchased rattan garden furniture than spend time digging and planting, then look no further than this selection of hardy perennials. Planting any of these will result in year after year of blooms, and they are tough enough to survive even the coldest of British winters too.

1. Lavender

Lavender is a top choice for any garden. It attracts beautiful butterflies and bees, and can even be used to flavour or decorate when baking. The scent is gorgeous, and lavender doesn’t need watering all that often either. Plant this shrub close to the front of borders or in pots for a colourful, scented display.

2. Lily of the Valley

Another plant prized for its pleasing scent is Lily of the Valley. It is actually a native wildflower, though it is more often seen in gardens. A key bonus of this plant is that, unlike lavender, it likes a shady spot. The bell-shaped flowers are complemented by neat green foliage, and red berries will follow later in the year.

3. Geranium

Hardy geraniums may also be referred to as Cranesbill, and there are many varieties to choose from. These low-maintenance plants bloom for a long time during summer, and may be blue, purple, pink or white. They are great for ground cover, at the edge of borders or used to add a lively splash of colour to any gaps.

4. Echinacea

Echinacea will attract pollinating insects and can make a dramatic impact towards the end of summer, particularly in the case of Echinacea Purpurea, aka “Ruby Giant”. This is one of the largest echinacea, with reddish pink flowers that gradually turn silvery pink. The tough plant features stems that branch to form a pleasing display, each flower displaying the characteristic honey-toned cone.

5. Rudbeckia

A popular perennial, rudbeckia provides plenty of long-lasting, daisy-shaped blooms. Like echinacea, they feature conical centres that are surrounded by warm red, orange or yellow petals. They will also attract pollinating insects. Rudbeckia Goldsturm features rich yellow petals surrounding a chocolate brown cone, and they flower from July to October. Other varieties include upright growing Rudbeckia Fulgida, or short-lived Rudbeckia Hirta that behave more like biennials.

6. Sedum

Sedum, or Stonecrop, are great for poor, stony or salty soil, as well as providing colour during autumn – they may even flower as late as November. A very easy plant to grow, Sedum Spectabile (or Ice Plant) features upright growth, small star-shaped pink flowers and greyish green foliage. They will bloom from August into late autumn, and you can leave fading flowers to provide a little winter colour.

7. Salvia

Looking and behaving similarly to Lavender, Salvia Nemorosa features spikes of purple flowers during summer and into autumn. As they are native to dry climates, salvia are ideal for sun-drenched borders, and can normally tolerate drought. Salvia look great as part of a mixed border or in containers, and will smell fantastic, as well as attracting the local bee population.

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