Starting a Perennial Garden

by Kathy
(Pocahontas, Iowa)

I want to start a perennial garden in sun and part shade, in Zone 4. I am a beginner gardener (just retired), and would like to have continuous bloom from spring to fall. I would like to begin with 10-15 varieties (with several of the same varieties in groupings).
My problem is in arranging the plants. I know if I plant iris' the bulbs need to be planted in the fall. After the iris' die back in the spring, what should I plant in front of them to disguise the dying foliage?
I would also like to plant coneflowers, daylilies, oriental lilies, daisies, coreopsis, bellflower, geranium, yarrow, and hollyhocks. Bcause of the height of the hollyhocks they would need to be planted in the rear of my perennial garden.

Doug says that if you're growing iris bulbs - then they're really short and will grow in the front. If you're thinking of the large flowering taller "German" Iris - then they're treated as perennials and while the flowers fade, the foliage stays green all summer.

And yes, traditionally your taller plants go to the back of the garden design.

There's an entire section here on getting your garden to bloom all summer in the design section. You may want to check this out.

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