Perennials on Parade

By Kate Riley June 10, 2010

Ten years ago, we started our landscaping with a simple lawn and some boxwood shrubs.  The next year, we planted pink hydrangeas in the front yard.  The following year, rose trees.   Slowly through the years we’ve been adding perennial shrubs and flowers to our garden.   I think gardens, like interiors, are most appreciated when their beauty is arrived at over time, don’t you ?

I’ve planted evergreen shrubs to fill in the blank spots during the winter, and I love to supplement with annuals in pots in the summer, but time and again, my perennial shrubs fill the garden with gorgeous color and scent.  Here are some of my favorite perennials putting on a show this June !

  erisimum Erisimum ‘Bowles Mauve’


hydrangea hornli Raspberry hydrangea

erigeron Erigeron


hydrangea pia  Natural pink hydrangea


verbena Purple and white verbena


climbing jasmine Confederate Jasmine


penstemon Burgandy penstemon


diascia 2 Diascia ‘strawberry sundae’



lavatera Lavatera


purple perenial Sweet Pea Shrub (polygala dalmaisiana)


convulvus Ground Morning Glory (convulvus maritanicus)



trailing white Sandwort (Arenaria montana)


purple roses Purple Passion Rose


chinese snowball Viburnum (chinese snowball)


I’ve always liked the cooler colors in my perennial garden . . .

. . . there’s a purple, pink, and white trend. 

No hot colors around here. 


Oh wait, that’s not entirely true . . .

I cannot resist strawberries !  




So excited to harvest the Grosso French lavender next week !! 

french lavender 2 


But I think our backyard syrah grapes might just be my favorite because . . . 


They give back the most . . .


Double slurp. 


Tell me, what are your favorite blooms in your garden right now ? 




  1. Just beautiful! I too love perennials. Our hydrangeas are in full bloom and I am loving them!! We too have jasmine and the scent is heavenly.

  2. That sweet pea shrub is beautiful! It reminds me a little of vetch but hopefully it doesn’t take over everything like vetch does. I’m loving my oriental poppies – they’re not completely bloomed out yet but those delicate papery looking flowers are so lovely!

  3. I absolutely love those raspberry hydrangeas! Those are gorgeous…
    You’ve created a wonderful garden…


  4. wow! beautiful! it’s so hard to be patient when time (and money) prevent us from having gorgeous landscaping, but you’re right – it’s much better to appreciate it growing and developing over time.

  5. Definitely my raspberry hydrangeas. They are so beautiful in my garden this year. And you have them too! Aren’t they just divine?

  6. Wow youre flowers are stunning! I live in an apartment so I don’t have a garden, but I have planted some herbs in pots on my balcony and am trying tomatoes this year. I wish I had a yard like you!

  7. I just love your flowers, most of all your hydrangea, I swear I can’t grow flowers. My dahlia are barely surviving and my roses are gone, I need flowers!

  8. We didn’t have time before the wedding last year to plant so this year that is our task so unfortunately I don’t have any favorites ‘in” my garden. I do however love hydrangea but am stuck on a perfect place for them based on their needs and our landscape layout thus far. These may have to wait until I can get more shade around our house.

    I love your beautiful garden! I think I may also steal some of your ideas (like the chinese snowball and white verbana) for our yard. Thanks for sharing; you are a wealth of knowledge and inspiration.

  9. Are they all in your garden? I think I might move nearby just to be able to enjoy the view.Congrats.

  10. I love, love, LOVE chinese snowball! Now if only I find some for my bare ground…

  11. I love your garden. I just went to the nursery during lunch and browsed all the butterfly and humminbird flowers I will be planting next year. I cannot wait.

  12. We just moved into a new house a couple months ago and were surprised when bright yellow and red tiger lillies popped up with the warm weather. Love them!

  13. My hydrangeas are about to bloom – they’re my favorite! We have a small yard that’s mostly shady, so I’m really limited in what I can plant, and am very jealous of your gorgeous blooms!

  14. Aw Hydrangeas! I want them, I need them in my yard! I will have them soon! I planted a whole border of impatients and petunias and they are blooming all over and I love it!

  15. We bought our home 7 years ago. The builder had landscaped the front only. So, we have gradually added things each year. I’m posting pictures soon. I just put in a new blue hydrangea. Do you do something to your soil to make yours keep their color? I keep hearing stories that they all turn white if you don’t treat the soil?

  16. Absolutely GORGEOUS! I would LOVE to see a picture of your garden in it’s entirety (in one picture!) to see all the flowers together!!! I need some inspiration! We just bought our house and we are SLOWLY working on the landscaping (taking advantage of the warm summer months up in the northeast) and I need some inspiration!!!

  17. Your verbena is beautiful! Wonder if I can grow that here?

    I’m a hydrangea girl too. I have a big potted one by the front door. :) Thanks for labeling all of these! I never take the time to look through a gardening catalog, but this was really informative.

  18. With the water situation in San Diego dire we’ve gone the drought tolerant route over the past four years. Gone are the lawns, replaced by gravel, Mediterranean and native plants (like lovely lavenders) and succulents (mainly in pots) whose beauty grows on you. We “spend” our precious limited water resources on fruit trees and veggies. I kept two splurges from the “old” garden – my gorgeous hydrangea and an English rose whose smell is intoxicating.

  19. Hi Kate-

    I am a purple, pink and white girl myself. I just don’t like any other flower colors. Still waiting for the hydrageas to bloom. I get a different color every year depending on how much fertilizer acid or lime I use – but always betwen pink and purple hues. Verbena and Spirea are what I have planted. Everything else is green. Your backyard looks beautiful with the California sun – like a garden catalog. Are the grapes hard to take care of -easy?

  20. Hmmm, blooms…I think we are a little bit earlier in the season than you. All I can see are the dandelions. I love your hydrangeas! Can’t grow them in a zone 2.

  21. Love these colors, but the smell of the jasmine and lavender must be hard to beat!
    We have had a wonderful show of roses, but they’re pretty much over now. The current star of the show is a purple thing that we’ve no idea what to call. :)

  22. Those pics are so beautiful…do you have any suggestions on growing grapes? My husband wants them so badly!
    Personally I love the lavender….hhhmmmmm….

  23. Still struggling to build a list of blooms! Our warm weather hasn’t hit yet. Our grass is VERY green though. :)

    Just did a gardening post today about compost and edging. Not early as pretty as yours but at least I’m on topic. :)

    Love your flowers! I love cutting them and placing them all over the house.


  24. I love all the flowers. I just finished going through a book called the “Scouting the Divine” She talks about planting a vineyard and what a job it is. It also brought out that the Proverbs 31 Ideal woman planted a vineyard ….. I love it.Thinking ahead.

  25. I thought I had some nice looking blooms…until I saw yours! Dang girl, there is nothing you can’t do! How much land do you have? I’m sure the fact that you aren’t battling 100 degree temps helps you a bit too! ;)


  26. I love your garden! Your photos are gorgeous. I keep smelling jasmine wherever I go these days and I have to get one planted in the garden, like yesterday. Thanks for the reminder to get a viburnum. And another rose. Your Purple Passion rose is a stunner. Our roses put on a beautiful show this spring and are still looking good, especially the poor performers of previous years. I think they heard the rumors they were in danger of being replaced and thus perked up. The clematis, salvias, scabiosas, cat mint, and dianthus are providing plenty of lovely pinks and lavenders but I also love the riot of color the nasturtiums, yarrow, coreopsis, and st. john’s wort bring to the garden party. Our lavender is in waiting. I can’t wait. I think I need to plant grapes.

  27. My hydrangea bushes are my favorite! I have 2 different kinds-Blue and the Pee Gee a white cone shaped.

  28. Has to be the honeysuckle…it just smells so fabulous…just love it! Your flowers are so lovely, no wonder you love them!

  29. I think when my wisteria is in FULL bloom that is my favourite…especially the white one that smells heavenly and even wafts into the house in the evening when the door is open. But right this minute my fav bloom has to be..’IT’ ..after waiting for ten years..’IT’ FINALLY BLOOMED….
    I am about to post it to my blog…so give me a little while and it will be there…it’s worth the visit LOL..and just be grateful that we don’t have scented internet yet..cause it DEFINITELY ain’t wisteria!!!

  30. They are all stunning- but I think the raspberry hydrangea and snow ball are my favorite in your pics. In my garden, postage stamp that it is, I’m very proud of the hierloom runner beans that I planted this year. They’re beginning to blossom with an orange/red bloom and are creeping up the fence – I think they’re gonna be lookers by the end of the summer! Of course, in the way of perrennials, I’d have to go with my lavendar.

  31. Love all your flowers ! When I got divorced I left behind all my plants at the house I sold. I now only have hydrangeas that bloom and hostas that have gotten HUGE. I can’t wait to keep adding flowers. I used to like the columbine too. Would LOVE to see an overall picture of your backyard gardens too !

  32. OH my goodness your hydrangea are BEAUTIFUL!! They are my absolute favorite flower. Do you think they could grow container style?? I can’t wait until we own a house someday and I can plant a ton of them in a big garden I’m going to plant. I’ve already started drawing up the plans :)

  33. Gorgeous! I love my eleven different roses, my Annabelle hydrangea and climbing hydrangea. Alas, the pink/blue hydrangeas don’t like my garden and I can’t seem to get them to survive and bloom. We had lots of rain this spring so everything is coming up roses … and clematis … and … morning glories …. and etc.!

  34. I have several of the same perennials and I do love them. I hope to find a Viburnum like yours—you have a beautiful garden. Right now my favorite bloom is foxglove—they are tall and blooming in shades of pink, white and raspberry.

  35. Your flowers/plants are beautiful! Any chance you’d be willing to take pictures of your garden from a bit of a distance so we can see how you combine them? (That’s my big stumbling block and I love seeing how other people compose their gardens.) Have a great weekend!

  36. The strawberries look delicious! Last year I had great strawberries but when they would ripen they would disapear before I could pick them. I was puzzled until one morning I noticed our little west highland terrior, Jack, was in the strawberry patch eating only the ripest berries. He would sniff them to see which ones smelled ripe and then devour them. Even dogs can’t resist these luscious red berries!

  37. Simply beautiful! Thank you for sharing your garden with us. I haven’t been very motivated to plant any annuals this year but this post has me reconsidering.

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