Thursday, March 4, 2010
Perennials that are tough as nails
As I day dream about my garden on this fantastically sunny day in Western NY, I started thinking about plants in my garden that are fail safe and produce year after year. My top pick is the Coneflower, also known as Echinacea. I have had purple (though they look pink) Coneflower in my yard from the beginning. This flower with stands heat, dry soil and wind. It easily spreads just by shaking some of the seed heads on the ground in the fall or by transplanting young plants in the spring. My second pick is any plant in the Sedum family. I have Autumn Joy, Dragon's Blood and a few others. They are not invasive, but do multiply so that you can start to move extra plants to other parts of your garden. My Autumn Joy is so hardy that it traveled with me in a pot from Tennessee when I moved from there 10 years ago! It now occupies many different spots in my garden. I love it because it changes colors throughout the season and finishes the season as a beautiful deep reddish rust color. Autumn Joy also adds winter interest to my garden. Next on my list is a plant that is relatively new to my garden but I am completely in love with it. This plant is Walkers Low Cat Mint. Last June and July it was so gorgeous with its pale lavender color that strangers would stop and ask me what it was. It looks great thoughout the whole season too! Next on my list is Ladys Mantle. I'm told this is a partial shade plant, but I grow it in shade and sun and it does equally as well. While not really known for its flowers, the chartruse color of its leaves adds a pop of color wherever it is in your garden. Last, but not least, is Purple Rain salvia. The smoky purple color of this plant is like no other. The plant does not spread, but just gets larger each year. If you cut off the flowers once they've gone to seed, another set of flowers will appear. The purple red of the leaves also adds some great color to the garden even when the flowers aren't in bloom. All of these plants are easy to find in New York garden centers and Coneflower is very easy to start from seed! If you are new to gardening or haven't had the best of luck, try these fail safe beauties!