Wereham Sign Gary Trouton

Passionate About Plants

October 2009

Paul tells us how to recognise perennials

Perennials - Just glorified weeds!

Perennials have become very popular with the general gardening public, as they are seen as more colourful more instant and less expensive than shrubs. Shrubs are the backbone of the British garden. Sometimes it is easy to forget the significance of their contribution. The recent upsurge in the interest of the herbaceous perennial can divert our attention in getting the basics right.

So how do shrubs score over perennials?

To start with, they are better at attracting wildlife and have a far longer season of interest. Their low maintenance means they are better value for money. Most shrubs will give us many years of pleasure for a relatively small outlay. However because they will be with us for a very long time, it is crucial that we select our shrubs wisely and grow them well. This is where we at Quaymount can help.

Bedding plants need lots of watering and feeding, plus regular replanting and replacement. Border perennials need weeding, staking, tying, mulching, watering and so on. In the main a shrub sits there and does its thing (how cool is that!). Yes you may have to water it, possibly prune it and or dead head it, but most are low maintenance (more than you can say for your wife!).

Shrubs are ideal subjects for patio tubs or pots. They define space too, such as a pair of pots used to mark the top and bottom of steps or the entrance to a doorway. Apparently colour is important. Makers of pots have identified that if you sit a decorative plant in a container of the same colour as the flowers it is more pleasing to the eye. Colour is a powerful means of arresting attention and can stimulate an emotional response. Shrubs can deliver colour through their flowers or foliage or both. At this time of year our thoughts turn towards the fantastic autumn colours that the maple family and other such shrubs bring to the garden. A seasonal feast of colour can be enjoyed when shrubs and small trees are planted in your garden.

I have yet to see perennials used as hedging plants. There is a large range of shrubs suitable for hedging. Not only can you use Hawthorn to discourage intruder's berberis and hollies are two great choices for their beauty and practicality. Not only are they colourful and interesting, they also have those added prickles.

When thinking of evergreen shrubs to give winter colour we must not forget conifers. The modern conifer can give us different colour options structures and styles and are suitable for all types of gardens.

So let's hear it for shrubs the structural backbone to a well balanced garden.

Sometime ago I wrote about my grandfathers saying that you should always plant your potatoes on Good Friday. It puzzled me as to why this saying should exist and whether or not there was any logic to it. I have recently started researching garden folklore and believe that I have found the answer (more about that next month).

I would like to ask your help in furthering my research. Please could you send me any gardening sayings and folklore that you have had handed down to you. Please can you send them to Paul Markwell, Quaymount Nurseries, The Row, Wereham, King's Lynn, Norfolk, PE33 9AY. Or email me at info@quaymountplants.co.uk

You can always drop your stories and sayings in at the nursery where we will be pleased to see you.

Happy Gardening.

Quaymount Nurseries,

The Row,


01366 500691.

Paul Markwell,

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