US National Arboretum


A Dynamic Duo of Perennial Power

picture of red and white peonies in the perennial collection Perennials are found in every garden and collection at the U.S. National Arboretum, but here in the Perennial Collection they make their boldest statement.  Interspersed among the shrubs of the National Boxwood Collection, the beds of two dependable and  tantalizing perennials–daylilies, daffodils, and peonies–bring their bright colors to this corner of the Arboretum throughout the growing season.  In the first warm days of spring, tree peonies unfurl their enormous delicate blossoms. The herbaceous peonies are next, with their vibrant red, pink, and white blooms opening near the end of May.  The daylilies signal the arrival of summer and bloom in a dazzling array of colors in the heat of June and July.  Some of the daylilies continue to flower sporadically as late as September and October.

The daylilies represent the most extensive collection of herbaceous perennials at the U.S. National Arboretum.  Award winning hybrids, species, and the newest developments in daylily breeding reign supreme in the summer.  The daylilies are reliable performers, even in the heat of Washington summers.   Daffodils and daylilies are the perfect companions in the perennial garden, and the addition of thousands of daffodil bulbs that were formerly growing near the Native Plant Collections in 1999 and 2000 has added a spring dimension of interest to the beds of emerging green daylily foliage.  Both require full sun to bloom to their full potential and they politely take turns in the garden.  As the daffodil foliage matures and yellows in preparation for summer dormancy, the daylilies grow rapidly, obscuring the waning daffodil leaves.  The daylilies also use up soil moisture through the summer months and help to keep the daffodil bulbs from being waterlogged.

Here you can find both the subtle and obvious differences in flower types, colors, and fragrances, just by strolling around on grassy paths that divide narrow beds that invite a close look.  Be sure to bring a notebook and pencil so you can note your favorite varieties for inclusion in your own garden.  Most visitors may want to spend fifteen to twenty minutes admiring the peony beds, while at least an hour is in order to fully appreciated the beds that are planted with daffodils and daylilies.  The collection is not handicapped accessible.  The Perennial Collection is located in the National Boxwood Collection and is also very near the Friendship Garden and the Azalea Collections.

 Back to the Arboretum Home Page
Arboretum Information || Events & Education || Gardens & Horticulture || Research Activities
Support the Arboretum || New Plant Introductions || USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map || Comments
Search Our Site

Last Updated   March 5, 2007 11:26 AM
URL = ../../Gardens/collections/perenn.html