Late Spring Perennials
Peonies are one of the showiest of garden perennials. Noted for their large, sweetly-fragrant blossoms, they thrive in full sun and average soil. Peonies 30 and 40 years old are not uncommon! Be sure to cut plenty for bouquets in the house (wash off any ants on the buds; contrary to popular belief, they are NOT necessary to get the buds to open).
Columbines (aquilegia) prefer the partly shaded border, where their flowers hover like delicate insects above the foliage. Combine them with ferns, foxgloves, bleeding hearts, and hostas for a cool shady look, and don’t be surprised if they seed themselves around!
Perennial salvia is a long-blooming sun-lover. Available in blues, purples, white, and pinks, their spicy foliage is distasteful to deer and rabbits. After first flowering, trim back and fertilize lightly to encourage a second flush of blooms.