A sustainable collection of flowering plants begins with lamb’s ear. Stachys, Geranium, Nepeta, Salvia and Monarda are sun loving perennials for a summer garden.
Stachys is the soft wooly lamb’s ear plant gardeners like brushing their hands against. However, the Stachys called common betony is a lamb’s ear too, but with larger stiff green leaves and tall flower stalks.
The ground cover perennial Stachys officinalis is the basis of a full sun plant grouping that will fill in a summer garden using less mulch, fertilizer and plant maintenance.
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Like other plant community ideas, the perennials Geranium, Nepeta and an ornamental grass Sporobolus heterolepis are part of the plant collection.
In this example, the ground cover Stachys officinalis and other sun-loving perennials present multiple options for flower gardeners. Grown together, it is a sustainable collection of flowering perennials that will make a reliable summer garden.
Stachys Officinalis Ground Cover Plants
Stachys officinalis ‘Hummelo’ is a ground cover plant with layered foliage at the base. The medium green leaves have a heavily wrinkled appearance.
The purple tubular-shaped flowers are arranged around very vertical flower stalks that grow up to 22” tall. In fall, the flower stems turn a dark brown that growers find appealing in an autumn garden.
Stachys officinalis ‘Rosea’ has similar form but with dark rose colored blooms. Flowers on each of these plants bloom early July through August.
Stachys officinalis ‘Pink Cotton Candy’ is a 12” plant but spreads 21” wide. The lighter color two-tone pink flower is another option, especially for a smaller garden. Stachys officinalis plants are hardy as far north as zone 4.
Geranium Monarda Nepeta Salvia Perennials
The Geranium, Monarda, Nepeta, and Salvia perennials will thrive in a full sun location with moist well draining soil. With Stachys officinalis, the range of bloom times will over lap, create variety of height in the garden and attract butterflies, bees and hummingbirds. The list of hybrid perennials includes:
- Geranium ‘Orion’ has bluish violet flowers that bloom midsummer to late autumn. The plant grows up to 24” tall with a hardiness range from 4 – 8.
- Monarda ‘Oudolf’s Charm’ is among the tallest perennials in this plant grouping idea, it gets to 32” tall. The tubular flowers are pale pink on dark red with a vertical habit and bloom early July through August.
- Nepeta ‘Early Bird’ grows up to18” tall. The gray green foliage grows very violet flowers that will stand out in a garden late June to September.
Although not a hybrid, Salvia nemorosa ‘Amethyst’ flowers the entire summer season with violet blooms on a plant growing 2 ½’ high. Salvia plants are grown as a perennial or annual depending on the variety and garden climate.
Flower Garden Fall and Winter Interest
Summer flower gardens with ornamental grasses and other tall perennials benefit from the structure it adds and wildlife they attract to the garden. Each will add fall and winter interest, further extending the garden display and enjoyment from inside, as the weather turns cold.
Sporobolus heterolepis is a warm season ornamental grass. It grows 40” tall, early with a very narrow vertical form, then developing into a gently arching appearance. The emerald green panicles bloom in middle of August through October ending with a golden yellow fall color.
Although not an ornamental grass, Penstemon digitalis ‘Huskers Red’ is a 28” tall plant that offers dependable winter interest. During the growing season the leaves are dark maroon and green and the flowers are pinkish white in early June through July.
A collection of flowering perennial plants that thrive in a similar environment will create a sustainable garden. Stachys with other sun-loving perennials is one plant-grouping flower gardeners can use.