Flowering Plants For Dry Windy Conditions
If you are not planting flowering perennials on your site because it’s windy, you’re missing out!
The truth is, you can plant flowers and get them to flourish when you choose the right ones and combine them, for example, with ornamental grasses. Ornamental grasses give structure, and they shelter your plants from the wind.
Some Tips for Sunny and Windy Garden, Please
I got a question from Päivi who reached out and sent her question to Viherpiha Garden Magazine's 'We answer' column, where I'm one of the garden professionals answering readers' questions.
"We have a sunny, open, and windy plot on the hilltop. I would appreciate some tips on perennials that are suitable for our garden."
Päivi from Lahti
Since Päivi is writing from the town of Lahti (USDA zone 4) and their yard sits on a hilltop, I assume the soil in the garden is free draining. In that case, the open and sunny plot would be a perfect place to plant perennials with tall ornamental grasses. Ornamental grasses would also give some shelter from the wind for the flowering plants.
My List of Fab Perennials for Dry Windy Site
As for perennials for an open sunny and windy site to combine with ornamental grasses, I would suggest e.g.
- catmint (Nepeta x faassenii),
- yarrows (Achillea) such as a yellow fern leaf yarrow (A. filipedulina) or red cultivars of common yarrow (A. millefolium),
- crimson scabious (Knautia macedonica),
- eastern purple coneflower (Echinacea purpurea),
- woodland sage (Salvia x sylvestris),
- and hardy geraniums (Geranium) such as bloody cranesbill geranium (G. sanguineum).
Oriental poppies (Papaver Orientale group) and dense blazing stars (Liatris spicata) would also be perennials worth trying.
The hottest and dryest areas in your garden would be perfect for low perennial groundcovers like creeping thyme (Thymus) and various stonecrop species (Sedum). They are also evergreens, which is always a bonus. You could also add some summer flowering bulbs like Star of Persia alliums (Allium christophii). They would combine beautifully with perennials and grasses.
Plant Ornamental Grasses to Protect Your Perennials from the Wind
As for ornamental grass, I would choose a hardy 'Karl Foerster' feather reed grass (Calamagrostis x acutiflora 'Karl Foerster') and plant it in clumps of five, seven, or nine. Alternatively, you can also plant them like a ribbon that flows through your planting area or place them against the dominant direction of the wind at the back.
On an open site situated on a hilltop, you have a lot of light and enjoy distant views with sunrise and sunset. You might have a lot of options where to place your planting areas for the most impressive effect. Even if the options were more limited, it is good to notice that ornamental grasses are usually at their best grown in a place where you can see the morning light or evening sun shimmering through them.
The post is based on my answer to a reader's question published initially in a garden magazine Viherpiha.
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