This garden brings you 3.5 acres of perennials of every flavor! More than 1,200 varieties are displayed in the Perennial Garden, which feels like a series of rooms separated by trees and shrubs rather than walls. Perennials, which die back to the ground each winter but return from the roots in spring, show best with the structural elements of trees and shrubs around them.
From the Ground Up
The garden displays a fine cross section of perennials that thrive in our climate—from low, ground-hugging "groundcovers" to magnificent hardy hibiscus and giant reed grasses as large as most shrubs. The garden has sunny, shady and in-between places to provide the conditions for such a diversity of perennials to thrive.
Perennials may live year to year but their bloom time is usually shorter than garden annuals—about two weeks on average. We stage perennials with various bloom times together so they bloom in sequence from spring to fall, always keeping some colorful flowers in each garden bed.
In winter, the perennial stalks are allowed to stand until they lodge or splay; then they are cut off and composted. Unique seed heads and stems and the backdrop of shrubs and trees add much interest to the garden experience in winter.
As you explore the Perennial Garden you will find different themes in each space with interpretative signs describing the types of perennials and the growing conditions of each.
A Theme for Every 'Room'
These include the Trolley Beds on the south side with daffodils in spring and brilliant daylilies in midsummer. The Shade Native Beds under the copse of native Swamp White Oaks display wildflowers. The Arbor Garden on the lake's edge is a great place for a rest in the cool shade of wisteria-covered arbors and a favorite place to feed the fish.
Other areas awaiting your discovery include the Mixed Perennial Bed, the Bold Border with monstrous giant reeds, the Perennial Classics Bed of peonies and daylilies, the Woodland Garden with its shade-loving hostas, the Prairie Border, a New Millennium Border, the Fragrant Garden, a Low Maintenance Border and a White Garden.
Did you know? Architect Fay Jones designed the Meadow Pavilion's four-layered redwood trellis with several angled ends to create a moving shadow. Learn more »