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Martha's Perennial Gardens

Martha Stewart Living Television

Perennial flowers are well-loved by gardeners for the diversity of sizes, shapes, and colors available, as well as for their lasting beauty: A perennial, by definition, will live for two or more years with proper care and environment. Perennials are particularly well-suited to flower borders, where you can intersperse perennial varieties with annuals and shrubs. Today Martha takes a walk though her bountiful perennial gardens at Turkey Hill and points out some of her favorite varieties in the midst of full-spring bloom.

Martha's Perennials

Clematis montana rubens
A fast-growing vine with purple-flushed flowers. Blooms for about 4weeks in spring; can grow up to 30 feet high.

Oriental Poppy (Papaver orientale)
A late-spring flower with a fleshy root. Plants tend to grow in clumps. Possesses hairy, deeply toothed leaves and ornamental flower heads. Goes dormant later in the summer.

Aquilegia hybrids
The name of this plant is derived from the Latin word "aquila," for eagle, referring to the hooked "claws" at the back of the flower. Flowers in mid- to late spring. Does well in partial shade, self-sows freely. Many varieties are available.

Nectaroscordum siculum
Dangling, bell-shaped flowers. Grows from a bulb planted in fall; has long, strap leaves and smells of garlic when cut.

Bearded Iris
Range in size from miniature (to 8 inches) to large border types (to 27 inches). Grows from a rhizomatous root stock (spreads on or just below the soil surface). Strap leaves. Flowers in mid to late spring. Numerous hybrids are available.

Bleeding Heart (Dicentra spectabilis)
Flowers May through July. Possesses pink or white blooms, and smooth, light green, deeply toothed leaves. Fleshy rootstock. Name derived from the Greek 'di-"(two) "kentron"(a spur).

Geranium 'Johnson's Blue'
A hybrid cross. Good in mass, with palmate foliage, clear, sky-blue flowers, and deeply toothed leaves. Rhizomatous roots.

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