by: J.T. Foley
This list includes low-fuss perennials that have long flowering times. They are great for pollinators and love being planted in full sun. Once established, these rockstars can tolerate the drought and heat of summer in our area quite well.
This is great long blooming perennial that is pollinator friendly while being deer resistant. The foliage has a strong fragrance which tends to deter deer browsing. The flowers are usually light blue to lavender, and they flower late May-June. If sheared after the blooms fade you may even get a second bloom in late summer!
Agastache (Anise Hyssop)
Another perennial with a long flowering time that is great for the butterflies, bees, hummingbirds, and other pollinators. It blooms all summer in several colors including pink, orange, yellow and shades of blue. There are several species of this Southwestern U.S. native that is now highly hybridized to produce its long flowering time and more compact growth.
This herb has become a hot ticket item in recent years because there have finally been some breeders who have taken on this [previously] finicky perennial. As a result, there are now hybrids that bloom longer and withstand both heat and drought. Look for the new varieties such as “Phenomenal” and “Sensational” as greatly improved specimens of this herbal standard that is now a widely planted mainstream garden addition.
Rosemary is typically an easy plant to grow in deer prone areas, but it may take some special preparations to have it survive in your landscape long term. Be sure to amend the soil where you plant it: ideally it should be planted on a mound or slope where heavy rain or snow melt can drain away from its roots. It does not like a wet root zone at any time of the year. If you give your rosemary plant a well-amended home in full sun, it should give you several seasons of growth in return.
“May Night” is a blue flowering perennial. It is another easy-to-grow plant for full sun. Again, this foliage is highly scented which the deer tend to avoid. Once it blooms in April and May, it can be cut back to the base where new growth will re-emerge and flower a second time in late summer.
J.T. Foley is a local Master Gardner, professor, and owner of Snow Creek Nursery in Penhook.