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Hosta 'Francee'.

Bleeding Heart.

Peony. 6 must have perennials Sun or shade, to short and squatty or sassy show-stoppers here are our top six picks for perennial gardens.

For shade: Hosta Virtually ignored 40 years ago hostas are now one of the

most commonly sought after garden plants due to their easy growing nature. Lush, leafy mounds grow in three to four foot clumps and sprout stalks of purple, mauve, white or blue richly scented flowers in late summer. Hostas, also known as plantain lily, are available in an ever increasing number of cultivars sporting green, blue-green, marbled and margin- ated leaves. Tolerant to zone two, they thrive in partial to full-shade and acclimate well in moist well-drained soil. Hostas provide wonderful lush ground covers and their shal- low root system allow them to be planted in a wide range of areas. A favourite shade perennial, these hardy beautiful plants deserve a spot in every garden.

For beauty: Bleeding Heart The delicate heart-shaped flowers of this plant hang from

gracefully arching stems, blooming early in spring and sporadically throughout the summer. Flowers come in vari- ous colour combinations of yellow, pink, red and white. Easy to grow this hardy herbaceous perennial will thrive in vari- ous conditions but prefers cool, moist locations with partial shade, making it ideal for woodland gardens. While they are prolific self seeders, they may also be divided every couple of years in the spring or fall. Cuttings from large plants or

26 • Early Spring 2015

young shoots can also be used for propagation in the spring. Bleeding hearts need to be cut back in the fall or late summer once the plant has fully died back. They enjoy compost and time released plant food will increase bloom yields. This deer resistant beauty is hardy to zone two and will grow to a height of one to three feet with a similar spread depending on the variety purchased. Bleeding hearts have been a classic garden perennial for over a century and are still an elegant addition to any garden.

For drama: Peony These massive eye catching flowers are a show-stopper

for any garden. Peonies are beloved for their hardy nature, low maintenance and beautiful blooms. Available in a wide range of colours from bright whites to deep vibrant hues and multi-coloured configurations, plants can also be selected by bloom size: single, semi-double, double, anemone or Japa- nese varieties. Peonies grow in three-foot-tall by three-foot- wide herbaceous shrubs that droop when laden with flowers and die back in the fall; unless you own a woody variety. Staking plants with rings will keep them looking neat and tidy in the garden. Flowers are heavily scented and bloom from late May to the end of June for a period of four to eight weeks. These garden standbys prefer well-drained, moist soil – not wet, and can be fed lightly with a balanced perennial

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