Perennials are a wonderful addition to any garden. Here are six of our favorites--ones we like especially because of their relatively long bloom period.
Our first three nominees for the longest bloom are right at home in any sunny situation. They reward the eye particularly when massed in sweeping drifts, when blended in the border, or when left to fend for themselves in the wild garden. And they're drought-tolerant.
Black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia 'Goldsturm' and other varieties) offers up showy yellow-orange petals and bronze-brown central cones that make it ideal for cutting, especially considering the flowers' 3- to 4-inch-wide span. The bloom show typically starts in midsummer and continues through autumn, especially if the plant is deadheaded (old, faded flowers removed).
Coreopsis 'Moonbeam' is an award-winning perennial that shows off an almost constant display of lemon-yellow daisy-shape flowers all summer long, especially if you shear the plant back by a few inches after the heavy flushes of bloom.
'Moonbeam' and other varieties of coreopsis make good cut flowers and can also be grown in large container gardens.
The "red" in Penstemon 'Husker Red' refers not to its flower but its dramatic bronze-red foliage (and the Husker comes from the fact that the plant was developed at the University of Nebraska). Another floriferous toughie, this 30-incher sends up a score or more of airy flower stalks topped with hundreds of tubular white flowers. It's a top choice of butterflies and hummingbirds.
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