A CURATED LIST OF FAVORITE EARLY PERENNIALS BY OUR PERENNIAL STAFF. FEEL FREE TO PRINT OUT THIS LIST AND BRING IT WITH YOU WHILE MAKING YOUR PLANT SELECTIONS HERE AT KENNEDY’S.
FAVORITE EARLY PERENNIALS FOR SUN
Aurinia saxatiis (Basket of gold)
Sunny yellow blossom on gray green foliage-can tumble over walls and even seed into pockets
Anemone pulsatilla- (Pasque Flower)
Beautiful purple blossoms over soft downy foliage, associated with both Passover and Easter
Phlox subulata- (Moss Phlox)
Quintessential spring, ground cover, in a range of, mostly, pastel colors; great over a rock retaining wall
Iberis sempervirens (Candytuft)
Brilliant, small, white flowers cover this plant-woody stems; great atop a stonewall, in a rock garden, or as ground cover
A Spring classic- so many lovely varieties! These are perennial types. If grown organically, the flowers are edible. I decorate my cakes with them! (Sun to part shade)
FAVORITE EARLY PERENNIALS FOR SHADE
Anemone acutiloba aka Hepatica (Liverwort)
Native- small, but very sweet plant, once believed to be a remedy for liver ailments. (Shade to part shade)
Arisaema triphyllum (Jack-in-the-pulpit)
Native; The flower stands inside the spathe, hence the name, Jack-in-the-Pulpit.
Brunnera- (Siberian bugloss)
Lovely light blue flowers over variegated green and white foliage, which looks great all season. Shade to part shade.
Caltha palustris (Marsh marigold)
Native. Bright yellow flowers, good for moist areas
Dicentra (Bleeding hearts)
Tall pink or white (classics), and one with golden foliage. Additional shorter varieties with blue-gray-tinted (glaucous) foliage and pink or white flowers. Shade to part shade.
Epimedium (Fairy wings)
One of my favorite spring plants, small whimsical flowers and heart shaped leaves- looks great all season. Shade or even dry shade.
Jeffersonia diphylla- Twinleaf
Native;named after, and grown by Thomas Jefferson; sweet white flowers over double-lobed leaves.
Mertensia- (Virginia bluebells)
Stunningly beautiful, blue trumpet flowers, oblong leaves. Goes dormant by mid-summer. Good to plant with hostas or ferns
Many distinctly different varieties. Shade to part shade.
Range of flower color, from white, to blue, pinks, foliage is silver mottled or spotted in most varieties- foliage looks great even after flowers have faded. Shade to part shade
Polygonatum odorata (Solomon’s seal)
Some are Native- great plant for some height in the shade garden- straight green or cream & green variegated- small, hanging, white flowers along stem. Shade to part shade.
Lathyrus vernus- (Spring vetchling)
A real favorite of mine- A Pea relative- grows slowly in a clump- Vivid purple flowers- and adaptable to somewhat dry shade. Shade to part shade.
Susan Leigh Anthony is a talented landscape design artist with over 45 years of gardening experience. Her expertise covers several areas, including perennials, herbs, trees, shrubs, and container gardens. She works to educate others as an active member of the New England Unit of Herb Society of America, The North American Rock Garden Society and as a native plant advocate. Her lectures and presentations serve local community members, beginners and experts alike. Susan resides in Scituate where she tends to her own beautiful Doveflower Cottage gardens, which surround her antique home, with a tasteful collection of unique plant material.