Seasons in the Sun: A Consideration of perennial gardens Flower gardens are created for pleasure, pure and simple. And what pleasure Larkwhistle provides my partner and me! After more than a decade, an early-morning tour of our flowerbeds is still more of a certainty than breakfast is -- and every bit as nourishing. Each bed or border brings its own gifts: fat bumblebees, brilliant butterflies, the sultry scent of trumpet lilies and the heady bouquet of peonies. Colours change from day to day, flower following flower as spring days warm into summer, then cool toward autumn. Trilling redwings, yodelling bobolinks and, of course, whistling meadowlarks sound the signals for changes of phase and bloom as Larkwhistle, a place of rest and renewal, this garden we call home, makes its way through yet another spring, summer and fall, the three glorious seasons of northern perennials.Larkwhistle is devoted to perennials. Here, the moment the snow curtain lifts in March, the drama of a new season begins. At this early date, the maple trees in the woods across the way are holding their buds in check, lilac and honeysuckle shrubs stand stark and leafless against the pale sky, and the vegetable beds are bare. But in the flower garden, things are happening already. After a day or two of south winds and sunshine, tentative sparks of colour appear along border edges and there are signs of stirring everywhere. The flower garden is full of promise and potential. Imagination propels us through the coming months, conjuring up the colours and fragrances hidden in emerging shoots and winter-tousled mats. Soon, the impressive noses of crown imperials and the lesser snouts of other spring bulbs push through the cool earth and seem to sniff out the prospects of growing weather. Bleeding hearts, columbines and aconites begin to unfurl their foliage in a slow fan dance, while rough, hairy tufts of Oriental poppies stretch to catch the sun and many other garden dwellers respond, in their own way, to an irresistible urge to grow.We have not planted a single thing this spring, but from the time the first snowdrop rings a silent signal, we can look forward to waves of flowers -- just ripples at first -- following each other over the half year, April to September, which we cherish as our growing season. Snowdrops and crocuses give way to daffodils and primroses. These exit a month later, as tulips, bleeding hearts and creeping phlox take the stage against a backdrop of perfumed lilacs. As June bows in, a rainbow of irises fills the garden, fat Oriental poppies pop their furry buds in small explosions of scarlet, and spicy pinks swarm along the border edges. Soon, peonies loll their opulent pink and crimson flowers onto a spread of silver artemisia, and tapered foxgloves spire up behind old-fashioned roses. Lilies that have been inching upward all these weeks finally hang out exotic Turk's-caps -- vibrant orange, wine-dark or soft yellow -above a cloud of baby's-breath. It won't be long, then, before the tall mullein candles flicker among wands of rose loosestrife and yellow day lilies. Showy stonecrop keeps its corner of the garden presentable from the time its succulent silver rosettes emerge until heads of mauve-pink flowers, a rest-stop for passing butterflies, mellow to warm brown, in keeping with the autumn scene.Lima, Patrick is the author of 'Harrowsmith Perennial Garden' with ISBN 9780920656747 and ISBN 0920656749.