The Perennial Movement

By Renee Godfrey Quillin

There has been an increased focus on a new trend in 2024 that could be a garden game changer. The Perennial Movement is advocating for a more naturalistic and low-maintenance garden to celebrate the beauty of nature as the landscape changes from season to season. This creative process is accomplished by utilizing a naturalistic design, a colorful plant palette, use of natives and their cultivars, and incorporating all stages of the plant’s life cycle into the design.

Piet Oudolf – Autumn Garden

The naturalistic approach to the Perennial Movement mimics the look and feel of nature, which works with the surrounding environment and evolves with the seasons. This is inspired by the classic cottage garden, rolling meadow or lush woodland. Famous Dutch garden designer, Piet Oudolf is an inspiration that has undoubtedly mastered the naturalistic gardening style and was way ahead of his time.

Colorful Perennial Plant Palette

Using an inviting colorful plant palette is always welcomed in any garden. When it comes to the naturalistic design, it is good to start with the foliage. Have fun with the different shades and textures that foliage provides. Then select blooms for pops of color and types for an eye-catching display that will attract all walks of life.

2024 Perennial Plant of the Year – Native Cultivar Phlox ‘Jeana’

The movement places an emphasis on an ecologically friendly approach, which goes into the garden by leaning towards natives and their cultivars. Using them will increase biodiversity by attracting songbirds, butterflies, pollinators, and beneficial insects. Natives and cultivars tend to be pest and disease resistant and require very little input once the garden is established.

Taking advantage of all the stages perennials go through, will extend your garden to 3 – 4 seasons of interest, creating low-maintenance garden practices and providing an overwintering home for beneficial insects. Also, by not cutting back spent flowerheads of your perennials will leave food for the wildlife in a botanical wonderland smorgasbord. The Perennial Movement is not just gardening, but gardening with a purpose.

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