I love perennials because you don't have to plant them every year. I didn't know until I took the Master Gardener class that you're supposed to divide your perennials every three or four years. (Some gardener I am!)
I've got various perennials growing in my yard and have never divided any of them. Perhaps that's why they seem to go in decline every few years and then perk back up a year or so later.
I started a bunch of different types of perennials from seed three years ago and this year they are truly gorgeous, so I thought I'd share.
Gaillardia, or blanket flower, is a fairly common flower around here. It's drought tolerant and does well in the heat. It also blooms all summer long, especially if you remember to deadhead. It does well in sunny locations, although it blooms in partial shade, too.
This is Canterbury bells, a variety of Campanula or bellflower. It's supposed to be a biennial, meaning it takes two years to complete its life cycle. It didn't bloom the first year I grew it, but looked beautiful last year. I was afraid it wouldn't bloom this year (since it's a biennial), but here it is, blooming away and looking fab. Obviously, in spite of the master gardening class, I don't have a handle on the meaning of the whole biennial thing.
It does really well in shady areas.
You can find blanket flower at lots of different nurseries. I don't know that I've ever seen Canterbury bells for sale anywhere. I bought seeds from Park Seed, and the plant grew well from seed.