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5 of Teacup Gardener’s Best 100 Perennials

I have been watching my perennials emerge in the gardens this spring with renewed interest. I appreciate the plants that have evergreen foliage or emerge so early that they really hold their place in the early spring garden when the perennial garden really needs perennials.  I am beginning a list of my choices for the top 100 perennials in the garden.  Today I have listed five of these 100 plants that have merit and are worthy of a place in any garden.

1. Hellebores –Helleborus orientalis.  A common name for the Hellebore is the Lenten rose.  Hellebores are an excellent year round foliage plant for the shade perennial beds.  The blooms occur in the late winter and may last until Easter.  The flowers stay pretty for a long time in the early spring garden.  They have evergreen foliage and they are tolerant of dry shade.  When Hellebores are happy they tend to prolifically seed around to create an excellent groundcover for large areas.  In five years you may be a very popular neighbor when you dig and divide and share with all your garden friends.

2.  Husker Red Beardtongue –Penstemon digitalis ‘Husker Red’. The common name for the Penstemons is the beard tongue and was used by North American Indians to cure the toothache.  The best cultivar for me is ‘Husker Red’ and is one tough performer in the full sun, it emerges so early that I feel it is practically evergreen.  The striking red foliage is showy and strong and rises up over the old foliage.  When the blooms emerge it offers a lovely strand of bell shaped white flowers on flowerscapes, the stem of the flower, that cut well to display at your dining room table.

3.  Variegated Solomon Seal – Polygonatum odoratum ‘Variegatum’. This excellent spring perennial stands tall in the early shade garden and spreads easily.  It emerges clean and blooms fresh in early spring yet holds its place in the garden throughout the growing season.  The white bells gently hang in pairs from the stem and offer a sweet soft fragrance.  The Solomon Seal also has the unique benefit in the world of perennials for its nice yellow fall color.

4.  Chinese Fountain Grass -Miscanthus sinensis.  It’s an oldy but a goody and has always had a place in the full sun perennial garden.  The Victorian garden would not be right without a Fountain Grass adorning the mid-day full blasting sun.  It is absolutely gorgeous when it sways in the wind-it is the quintessential amber wave.  The only time this plant is not showy is when it’s cut back in late February to make room for the new growth in late April.  Combine this with daffodils to maintain the space for maximum use of floral display space and the daffodil foliage can age under cover of the new growth of the Fountain Grass.

5.  Stella D’Oro Daylily – Hemerocallis ‘Stella de Oro’.  I never liked this favorite of commercial landscapers until I planted one in a container garden.  I have grown to love this little solid full sun performer as it has been so pretty emerging with bulb foliage as the chorus for spring color.  Soon it will take its turn as a soloist when it produces many, many versatile yellow-orange flowers.