SUMMER brings a blaze of colour to the garden thanks to herbaceous perennials.

The bees are buzzing with delight in my garden, as they feed off the nectar from all the flowers in full bloom. Perennial plants really are worth their weight in gold this time of year, and right up to the first frosts, giving the garden a diverse range of colour and texture.

Geranium “Rozanne” won the “Plant of the Century” at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2013.

It is no wonder that it won, as it is a great “doer” in the garden, flowering for months on end with light blue flowers.

Penstemons are another gardener’s favourite. They need full sun and a good mulch to protect them in the winter, but give such wonderful bell-like flowers, which bees love. If you want to try something a little different, then try Salvia “Hotlips”.

The flowers are white with a red bottom petal, although I have seen these flowers become all white or all red, if there is a sudden fluctuation in temperature.

Be careful when handling it as it is quite delicate. Planting it tightly up against other perennials or ornamental grasses will help to protect it against the wind.

This is another perennial that needs a good mulch to protect it in winter.

If you have a slightly shadier part of the garden and you want to have something new that your neighbour probably won’t have, then plant Anemone “Wild Swan”. It has the most beautiful white flowers, with a blue tinge on the back of them. There are only a few in the garden centre at the moment, as they are hard to get hold of, but if you can, it will be worth it.

When planting perennials together in a garden, most people might have an image of a cottage garden style of planting or long borders with the largest plants at the back to the smallest at the front.

But, there are other styles of planting perennials which have been very popular over the past 10 years.

If you watch the RHS shows on TV or have visited them, you will notice how many garden designers use perennials in a less formal way. They mix ornamental grasses, such as Stipa tenuissima and Molina to give a prairie style of planting. Achillia, Echinacea, Rudbeckia, Scabiosa and Verbena bonariensis are classic examples of sun-loving perennials which are mixed together with grasses to soften their appearance.

Unlike the traditional method of planting the tallest perennials at the back and smallest at the front, mix the heights, by planting the grasses at the front of the border, so you can see the flowers through grass stems.

When the frost has killed the foliage, instead of chopping everything down to ground level, leave the dead stems until early spring. Perennials will still give you a show in the garden even in winter, by showing off the frosted spider’s webs on the dead stems.