WOULDN'T it be wonderful to plant out all your bedding plants just once and never have to dig them up and replant new ones? Just think of all that time and money you could save, not to mention backache.

The answer of course has been right under our noses for decades, and now many gardeners are realising the potential of the perennials we've been growing for donkey's years as a perfect solution to creating colourful bedding schemes with little maintenance.

Some of the most eye-catching bedding displays I saw last year were indeed created by herbaceous perennials.

In fact, there are so many plants that can be used for providing mass colour, it just takes a little imagination and some bold plantings in big blocks, far removed from the traditional "cottage garden" style of patchwork perennial planting.

Fortunately these days the range of perennials on the market is expanding rapidly, and most new introductions see a longer flowering season, compact habit and quick establishment all on the list of attributes.

Generally most perennials won't break the piggy bank either when compared to other options such as shrubs, roses and tender plants. Many can be grown quickly from seed too.

Anyone who visited the RHS gardens at Wisley last summer will without doubt recall their experiment with perennial bedding with an entire maze of beds packed with rudbeckias.

The daisy-like blooms provided a complete carpet of colour that was strong enough to almost take your breath away as they basked in the sunshine.

I really am hard-pressed to think of an annual that could rival that impact.

Not content with keeping to the beds the rudbeckias had even found their way into the containers too, proving just how adaptable they can be.

While you would expect our good friends at Wisley to conjure up something exciting it's surprising just what inspiration you can find in the most unlikely of places. Take Chicago airport for example. After a nine-hour flight from the UK, travellers' eyes spring wide open as they are greeted by a blaze of hundreds of day lilies on their way to reclaim their cases.

Rarely are these plants seen blocked out in formal beds, but after such a cheery welcome you will need no further convincing that we will see a great deal more of this practice.

If your appetite has been whetted you have to check out coreopsis Early Sunrise, a much deserved award-winning perennial that makes a fantastic bedding plant with its golden yellow blooms.

It's very quick to establish from either a plant or seed and will bloom away all summer long, even in its first year.