Perennials For Zone 6

Science and art of flower beds.

Flowers are the most beautiful and simple addition to a whole yard or established garden. They can be as easy as tossing a handful of wildflower seeds to the wind outside your front door. To make the most of your space here are some tips.

Sunshine.

Most plants need at least six hours a day of full sun to bloom and mature well. This includes nearly all annuals. Annuals are plants which bloom once, bear seeds, then fade away after one season. Perennials return year in, year out. There are several that only require partial sun and grow nicely with four to six hours a day. Which is four to six hours of light uninterrupted light. Partial shade is filtered or not as strong as full sun. These conditions are found under trees with sparse leaves, beside fences and large boulders.

Good soil.

`The best soil for flowering plants is slightly acidic. Around 6.5 on the ph scale. If your soil is alkaline add wood ash or lime. About two cups for every ten square feet.
Some plants do fine up to 8 but try to keep the soil under 7.5 for a thriving flower bed. Soil texture needs to be a crumbly loam with plenty of pores to allow air and water to permeate to the roots. Loam is an even combination of silt, sand, clay and organic material like compost or fertilizer. You ideally want good drainage, but the roots need the water to drain slow so they can get their roots thoroughly soaked. If you see standing water after thirty minutes add sand to your beds. If you cannot feel any water in the top inch after thirty minutes add a little clay. To fertilize your flower bed a standard 10-10-20 fertilizer mixture is usually good to start with in spring.

Flower bed arrangement.

The most popular set up is to have the flower bed next to the house or another wall. For convenience put tall perennials in the back. Bulbs like irises, lilies, and camassia will provide a tall background for your wall bed. They will not need to be replanted for years or decades and provide color from spring to late fall. When you are growing an island bed away from walls plant your tall plants in the middle. Going out from the tall flowers you get shorter annuals and greenery. Ferns and mosses are trendy low maintenance choices. Beautiful, colorful and fragrant types like oriental lilies, lavender, sweet alyssum. Border plants must be low on the grounds like pansy or forget-me-nots. Try decorative fences and rocks to add personal style.

If your flowerbed is in a shadier spot, you can make selections like white veined or purple hostas for color. Maidenhair ferns are excellent for ground cover in the shade. Lily of the valley makes a beautiful scented ground cover. Violets, impatiens and morning glories are other colorful choices. For back or middle spots of shady beds choose tall foxglove, ginger lilies, and calico bushes