Behind the garden scene, huge companies are breeding new plants that might hang around a few years, or maybe a hundred or more. Monrovia is one of those faceless names gardeners see on pots at the nursery. They specialize in cool perennials, shrubs and trees. I had to chuckle when I read "Friends don't let friends by annuals" in a recent e-mail from the company.
Perennials return year after year; annuals are usually grown during the frost free season, then die when cold weather arrives. The downside on perennials is they usually only bloom for a month or so. But coneflowers bloom most of the summer and come in a wide range of forms and colors.
The latest from the company is a white one called 'Meringue' (pictured above) is a stunner. Its double white blooms and creamy yellow center attract butterflies and will flower most of the summer. After the first blooms fade, cut them back for another bloom. 'Meringue' is only 18 inches tall and needs to be watered when the soil gets dry.
Perennials are a great for low maintenance gardening. Once in place they will multiply and provide color year after year.
Check out Monrovia's website. It's great winter reading and most of the plants are carried locally when the season finally begins.