Q: We have several large annual beds that we are tired of replanting twice yearly. Any ideas for perennials that we can substitute for year-round interest? One bed surrounds the mailbox; another is in front of privet hedges bordering our house.
A: Annuals and perennials present the yin and yang of gardening. Annuals provide colorful flowers for long periods…but they don’t live from year-to-year. Perennials, of course, last for years …..but typically have only a short time of bloom each year. Appropriate annuals can be chosen for either summer or winter color…. but they have to be replaced when the seasons change.
Still, I may have a solution. Try planting ‘Homestead Purple’ verbena around your mailbox next spring. It blooms from April to frost and will usually come back each spring. For the shady bed in front of the privet, try planting variegated hosta, Lenten rose and impatiens. The first two perennials supplemented by the self-seeding annual impatiens will give the bed something to look at throughout the year.