Identifying Perennials in Spring

Pictures of perennials as an identification guide to what’s growing in my yard this spring.

Once the perennials start pushing through the ground in spring, I sometimes can’t recall what is growing where.  I spent nearly 30 years living in Florida where plants don’t have to hibernate over winter.  Now I’ve had to adjust to not seeing my yard and gardens for months at a time.

Even though I leave the tags near the plant when they are planted, the tags don’t always last.  Some of the larger perennials, like the hydrangeas and peonies are easy to identify.  I also know where the rhododendrons are as they don’t die back.  They are just chewed to nubs by the deer.  This year I discovered that deer eat lilacs too.  We’ve had a hard winter.  I can’t be too mad at them for needing to eat.  I just wish they’d eat plants in another yard and leave mine alone!

I’ve taken some recent photos of the perennials growing this Spring as a reminder of what’s growing where.  It’s a plant identification guide for myself.  Maybe they will help you name some in your yard as well.

I took these photos May 3, 2015.  I live in southwestern New Hampshire.

ID bleeding heart ID Columbine plant in spring ID Coneflower ID Coral Bells ID coral bells2 ID Corepsis ID Monk's Hood ID tall phlox ID wild bleeding heart

My Three Favorite Perennials For Shade

white astilbe
White Astilbe – Shade Lover

It’s not easy to grow a shade garden.  Some hydrangeas will do well in shade, but I am not talking about those here.  This post is about the smaller perennials that can fill a shade garden.  The flower variety of shade loving plants is limited even more than the plants that are available.  Most things that will grow under trees or in gardens that are on the shady side of a house are pretty dull looking in my opinion.  I love a garden with variety, so I am always on the lookout for something new to plant in the yard and I’m always thrilled to find a nice looking, shade loving shrub.

Still, I revert back to my favorite three basic choices when buying for the shade.

#1. Bleeding Heart –  This is an amazing plant.  It is so delicate that it breaks easily, yet sends out long leafy stalks with loads of little, heart-shaped flowers that dangle from the greenery.  It seems so fragile, yet each year it survives the icy cold winters underground and grows back in Spring.

#2. Astilbe  – I think this is a favorite of many when it comes to planting for shade.  I am new to growing this plant, but I plan to have many of them in my garden under the trees.  They have tall feathery flowers in white, red and pink and their leaves can vary from color to color.

#3.  Hostas – Of course.  Who has a shade garden without including hostas?  Last year I planted a variety of hostas in my large, front yard garden.  It’s too early in the season to see them sprouting yet, but I look forward to watching them get larger and larger.  Hostas are mainly grown for the leaf coloring and size, even though they do send up tall shoots with tiny flowers on them.

This little one I found last year at the local nursery is called “Mouse Ear”.

mouse ear hosta
Mouse Ear Hosta