Do you sometimes feel overwhelmed by your garden plants?
Do you run out of time when you do get a chance to get out there and deadhead and pull weeds?
I know the feeling. I try and tend my own garden, but it seems more and more that it suffers because I have also signed up through Master Gardeners ( because I have to volunteer a certain number of hours each year), which has me running to weed/mulch/plant gardens in my county.
Then I tend to neglect my own garden because I am always working on another one. Busy, busy, busy!
Meanwhile, my garden suffers and keeps growing weeds. So I need plants that are easy and still look good with just minor upkeep.
(After all, I like to spend the majority of my time making and planting my hypertufa troughs!)
So here are a few of my garden’s favorite and easy perennials that I feel don’t need as much tending as some others.
This Coreopsis verticillata ‘Moonbeam’ is such a reliable perennial, coming back each year and increasing in slow stages, getting bushy and full of flowers. This is the thread-leaf type and the flowers are such a sunny yellow and so cheerful! And you can shear it off after a heavy bloom period and it will come back with more flowers all summer long.
It does spread in the garden through underground runners, but it is such a light and airy plant, I haven’t found it to be a problem. It just grows and blooms and when the blooming starts to dwindle, I just take some garden shears and cut it back to about 6 inches tall. It recovers and blooms again.
Here is the “Sweet William” Dianthus Barbatus . I planted these so long ago, I don’t remember the name for sure. These are a biennial, so it reseeds itself from the first year and just keep coming back with fresh new plants and many new flowers each year. If I cut off all the flowers after the initial spring bloom, it continues to bloom through the rest of the summer. I like it scrambled among the stones.
I have planted it from seed to also border my hypertufa troughs. I think it looks nice and the bright color looks good with all the stone.
I also have some Siberian Iris which is a “softer” variety than regular iris varieties. Its spikes are softer and more grass-like than blade-like as are the other iris. It is spreading for me slowly in clumps, but not out of control. And I want to dig and move it in the spring to put it against the fence. It has intense blue flowers and the foliage is nice throughout the year.
Spiderwort ( Tradescantia virginana) is really a nice plant. I had not grown this in my garden until a few years ago. Never even heard of it. But I really like this plant. By midsummer, it is done and the foliage turns yellowed and ratty. But just take your garden knife and cut it to about 6 inches from the ground. It will come back shortly, and even bloom a little.
If you have an area that is wet or boggy, this plant should do very well there. I have it in a dry area along with my other plants, but plan to move some to the wet areas in the rear yard. It grows and spreads easily. Be warned. It will need a little control if you like the well-manicured look, but as a cottage garden plant, it is beautiful.
Just in case you didn’t already know that I favor blue, here is the perennial Geranium “Johnson’s Blue,” It has such pretty flowers and they stay for a long time each spring and summer. When the flowers die back, you can cut the plant way back and can get some more blooms too. Not much care needed, they just spread through the border delicately in between other flowers. Lovely next to a bright yellow daylily. I also have “Roxanne” and “Blushing Turtle.”
And who wouldn’t love the Purple Coneflower ( Echinacea). It is sturdy, not floppy if you initially pinch it a little when it first starts growing. It has a nice color in different shades of purple. There are more color varieties too. It attracts butterflies and bees to the garden.
It comes back every year and you can pull or share the extras! It will reseed around where it grows and add to your supply. I usually leave some of the seed heads up because the finches will come to feed on them.
What would spring be without my Baptisia “Indigo Blue.” I love the intense blue of the blossoms and the gray-green foliage of this plant. The foliage is the gray-green color which goes so well with blue.
It is not supposed to be moved since it has a long taproot, (which makes it a great drought-proof plant) but I have moved mine several times and it recovers just fine. If you do move it, get as much of the root as possible. ( I don’t follow the rule book sometimes…I am a Rebel!)
In my garden, this one drops seeds from the black seed pods and I have little ones growing all the time. Those tiny ones will take a couple of years to get to the blossom stage, but if you like the plant, you can keep a constant supply.
These are only a few, and I could go on and on. But these are the easiest ones that I think every garden should have. I have only so much room for plants, as I have relatively small gardens.
What are your favorites and what plants do you just have to have in your garden?