Perennials for old fashioned gardens
In Northfield, we do a lot of landscaping around older homes. I remember when I was younger, my Mom and Dad would take me to Grandma’s house. I’ll never forget how much I enjoyed looking at all the all the flowers in her garden. (A sign of things to come?). Grandma Smith would use a lot of them for flower arranging. Grandpa was a pastor, and she would make arrangements for the church alter every Sunday.
Other than a few shrubs around the front porch, I can’t recall seeing many houses “formally” landscaped back then. But almost everyone had a flower or vegetable garden of some sort. Anyway, I like to incorporate some of the more old-fashioned varieties of perennials in my landscape plans. With the tremendous rise in popularity of perennials, a lot of new varieties are finding their way to the market, which makes the truly old fashioned perennials harder to find. I think too many of the older homes are over-landscaped, like they tried too hard too make it look “contemporary”. To my way of thinking, it takes away from the uniqueness of the older home by covering up some of its best features.
Of course there are the old standbys of peonies, hollyhocks, and lily-of-the-valley, but take a look at the list below. Hopefully, you will find a few that would suite your Grandma’s fancy.
Beebalm (Monarda), Aster Bellflower (Campanula), Bleeding-heart (Dicentra), Blue Bells (Mertensia), Daylily (Hemerocallis), Delphinium, Forget-me-nots (Myosotis,) Hollyhock (Althaea), Foloves (Digitalis), Gas Plant (Dictamnus), Jack-in-the-Pulpit (Arisaema), Lily-of-the-Valley (Convallaria), Lupines, (Lupinus), Monkshood (Aconitum), Pansies (Viola), Phlox (creeping and standard garden variety), Ostrich fern, Sedum (Both groundcover and var. ‘Autumn Joy’), Peony (Paeonia), Primrose (Primula), Tiger Lily (Lilium).