Geranium and Coreopsis in the perennial garden

Filling bare spots in your garden

Jennifer NicholsField Notes

Gardens are never static. Whether you started out with an excellent design and installation, or made smaller changes to an existing landscape over time, how do you know when you are “done”?

The answer of course, is never. As we all know, in every garden some plants will thrive while others languish. Trees may grow and shade out a previously sunny spot, or decline so that a shady spot becomes sunny.

So in thinking about how our gardens looked last year, let’s consider some of our favorite perennials to fill in any bare spots that you may have in the upcoming season. And keep in mind, you often get better information and reduce confusion if you use botanical names when shopping for plants.


Native Perennials for Sun

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Native Perennials for Shade

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Notable Non-native Perennials

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One last note: Many of the above plants, both native and non-native, have been named in the past by the Perennial Plant Association as the Perennial Plant of the Year (PPOY). These plants have been nominated and voted on by members of the association and generally need to satisfy the following criteria:

  • Suitability for a wide range of climatic conditions
  • Low-maintenance requirements
  • Relative pest- and disease-resistance
  • Readily availability in the year of promotion
  • Multiple seasons of ornamental interest

For more information about the PPOY see

*The highlighted plants link to a garden website, Viette Nurseries in Virginia. GreenWeaver is in no way affiliated with Viette’s, however their website does a much better job laying out Perennial Plant of the Year than the Perennial Plant Association’s website.