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Twenty good perennials to get you started

Five tall ones for the back

Aruncus plumosus ‘Glasnevin’ (5 ft/1.5 m) Creamy white plumes of flowers June-July.

Delphinium ‘Magic Fountains’   (6 ft/1.8 m) Huge spikes with large florets in a selection of pinks, blues and white. June-August.

Helianthus annuus ‘Pacino’    (6 ft/1.8 m) Double golden yellow flowers July-September.

Ligularia clivorum ‘Desdemona’ (5 ft/1.5 m) Orange flower spikes, large purplish leaves. July—September.

Sidalcea  (6 ft/1.8 m) Deep pink/red mallow-like flowers. June—August.

Five of medium height

Anemone hupehensis ‘Praecox’    (20 in./500 mm) Semi-double, rose-red Japanese Anemone. August-October.

Aster nova-belgii ‘Marie Ballard’ (36 in/900 mm) Light blue, double Michaelmas daisy. September-October.

Helenium ‘Golden Youth’ (30 in./750 mm) Large golden yellow flowers with prominent dark centres. June-August.

Hemerocallis ‘Frans Hals’ (36 in./900 mm) Day lily. Large tubular flowers, deep yellow with orange . June-August.

Lupinus (Russell Group) ‘Dwarf Gallery Mixture’   (16in./400mm) medium spikes in a wide selection of colours and bi-colours. June-July.

Five low growers for the front

Geranium ‘Russell Prichard’ (8-10 in./200-250 mm) Creeping habit. Carmine red flowers for many months. June—September.

Oenothera missouriensis (10 in./250 mm) Large, bold, yellow evening primrose blooms June—September.

Potentilla ‘Gibson’s Scarlet’ (12-14 in./300-350 mm) Bright red flowers. June-August.

Sedum spectabile (14 in./350 mm) Ice plant. Fleshy leaves. Large light pink flower heads. August—October. Good butterfly plant.

Veronica teucrinum ‘Kapitan’ (10—12 in./250-300 mm) Bright blue flowers on short spikes. May—July.

Five evergreens for added interest

Bergenia (10-15 in./250—380 mm) All varieties recommended. Leathery ‘elephant’s ears’ green leaves, often turning purple in winter. Red, pink or white flowers. March-May.

Dianthus (pinks). Grey-green spiky leaves and pink, red or white single, semi-double or double flowers. Very fragrant. Modern varieties are perpetual flowering. Make good edging plants.

Euphorbia robbiae (24—30 in./600-750 mm) Deep green leaves, sulphur-yellow flowers. May—June. Spreads and seeds easily and needs careful placing.

Helleboms corsicus (24-30 in./600-750 mm) Leathery green leaves and apple-green flowers. April—May.

Ms pallida ‘Variegata’ (30 in./750mm) Cream and grey-green variegated sword-like foliage, blue iris flowers. May.

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