Perennials—which can thrive in a garden for generations—add enduring color, scent, and texture to coastal gardens


Photography by Andrea Mccarthy

Perennials are perfect partners for coastal environments, loving moist, ocean-warm air and the seaside’s usually mild growing season temperatures. Hosta, above left, are handsome plants that come in a wide range of sizes with distinctive foliage in cool-hued seaside colors, ranging from soft blue to bright chartreuse. Other low-maintenance perennials include tall spidery-flowered bee balm in bright reds and purples, the sunny white stars of Shasta daises, day lilies in almost every color and size imaginable, above right, and phlox, opposite page right, which give mid-season gardens great flowery texture and sweet fragrance from dawn to dusk.

For Cape and Islands gardens that will look beautiful from May until late October, choose a combination of sweetly scented showstoppers like huge white Casa Blanca oriental lilies, opposite page left, and interesting foliage plants like low, chartreuse-tipped Lady’s Mantle, opposite page right, ferns, or succulents.

From spring through late summer, perennials are the flower garden’s stars, especially when paired with the all-season color and high performance of annuals, their single season-lasting cousins, like the bright yellow marigolds shown above. Beginning with spring’s stately irises and on through bold fall-blooming Black-Eyed Susans, perennials are the lasting queens of any flower garden.

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