What Annual Flowers Work Well in a Perennial Garden?

I have huge perennial gardens but I need to work in annuals that will fill in really well for our upcoming wedding.

Today I will share what annual flowers work well in a perennial garden. Since we are in zone 5b, I will be using annuals that do well in our area (Chicago Suburbs).

I have both a large full-sun area and a large shaded area in my gardens. I want my gardens to be primarily pinks and whites with pops of other colors which can be achieved with many of my perennials.

Garden Layers

The Perennials that are in My Gardens

These are the plants that come back year after year. They still need care as some spread or reseed and you have to keep them under control. Some don’t always tolerate winter and have to be replaced. Some just need to be divided and moved around. My gardens look different every single year. Here are some of my staple perennial plants.

Shade Gardens
  • Hydrangeas
    • Lime Light
    • Little Quick Fire – Can tolerate shade
    • Let’s Dance Rythmic Blue
    • Vanilla Strawberry
    • Phantom Tree Form – In our chicken coop. The Hen’s can’t get to the flowers
    • Oakleaf Hydrangea – Can tolerate shade
  • Little Miss Kim Lilac Tree – Tiny Flowers
  • Floribunda Rose Bushes – Don’t need the care of regular rose plants
  • Stella D’Oro Daylily – repeat blooming
  • Daylilies – only bloom once but come in amazing colors and flowers
  • Sedum – Pretty green that turns red in the fall
  • Hostas – (Shade or Sun) – Base plant
  • Ferns – (Shade) Base plant
  • Phlox – Tall plants that I love in between just about everything
  • Coneflowers – Medium to Tall that need to be kept under control
  • Astilbe – (Shade) These don’t like my eco-system so I pretty much have to treat these like annuals
  • Lavender – So pretty when the gardens are starting to wain
  • Shasta Daisies – Who doesn’t love a daisy
  • Monarda – This is a medium plant that has an amazing texture
  • Baptisia – This bush flowers in the early summer with very interesting blue blooms
  • Autumn Clematis – This grows over my trellis and is a mass of white blooms in the late summer
  • Columbine – This is a shorter flower that has very interesting flowers and texture
  • Boxwood Hedge Scrubs – Base plants
  • Grasses – Base plants

Full-Sun Plants – Annuals

I added these into my gardens to fill in and maintain continual color throughout the growing season.

  • Wavy Petunias – low
  • Foxglove – tall
  • Delphinium – tall
  • Geraniums – medium
  • Sweet Alyssum – low
  • Zinnias – medium
  • Cleome – tall
  • Sunflowers – tall
  • Dahlias – medium to tall (I’m going to try these in containers this year and “plant” the containers in my garden)

Shade Plants – Annuals

  • Impatiens & Double Impatiens – low-base plants that can be in the gardens along with baskets and planters.
  • Coleus – I’ve always put these in my planters but I’m going to try them right in the garden this year
  • Fuchsia – Great for hanging baskets
  • Bacopa – great in window boxes, planters, and baskets
  • Euphorbia – great in window boxes, planters, and baskets
  • Ivy – This can go anywhere
  • Begonias – great base plant for color

The Goal with Your Annuals

The goal with annuals is not only to fill in between the perennial plants but to create a blend of heights and textures. While some people enjoy having all of their tall flowers in the back, medium in the middle, and low flowers in front; I like my gardens to be wavier in their shapes.

I’m more interested in textures and colors mixing well together. I also group things in threes or fives and also single clumps.

Because a garden is just an ongoing experiment, I keep very thorough notes during the season about what I need to move, divide, and eliminate along with what is working well.

Purchasing Plants for My Garden

Typically when I purchase my flowers I get the vast majority of my staple plants from HomeDepot. Then I fill in with the more specialty flowers from my local nurseries. If you live in my area, I shop at Countryside Nursery in Crystal Lake, Hawthorne Gardens in Hawthorn Woods, Hoffman’s in Volo, and Hubbs Greenhouse, in Marengo.

This year I’m going to do things a bit differently because of the wedding. I want to make sure that all of my plants match so I’m going to send in my order to the nursery so that I get everything that I want and have it all delivered to our house.

We will also be planting our vegetable garden soon and handy has spent the past week preparing a bed for me to make a formal herb garden. Both will need a layer of new topsoil to replace the settling that happens every year and then they will be ready to plant.

We will be mulching our beds right after planting so that we keep the weeds at bay. I’ve also been already spraying Deer Out on my perennials that are starting to peek through the ground. We have a family of deer that think my yard is a smorgasbord. This year it’s on with the deer. I’ve purchased some water spray deterrents along with my Deer Out to keep them out of my yard. It’s actually quite a feat as I have a huge area to guard. If anyone has some good tips or tricks, please leave them in the comments. I will try anything

First Things First in the Garden

Since I can’t really plant much before May 15th and I’m doing a “Spring to Summer” House Tour with some other amazing bloggers, I’m going to be working on my Greenhouse first. The transformation will actually start this week as our Tour is on May 4th.

Hope everyone had a very blessed Easter. We had some great food and fellowship with family and friends!

Peace and Love,

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  1. You are going to have the most amazing garden.
    Blessings to you.

    1. Thank you Renae – I love to garden so that is half the battle. To me it’s better than therapy 🙂

  2. Regina Jenkins says:

    Boy are you organized. I need to take notes. I take pictures and always think I will remember but I don’t. Great post!

    1. I keep pretty extensive notes in my garden journal. I don’t think it that I’m so organized as much as I am forgetful. If I don’t write it down, I would remember.