During the recent Mother’s Day celebrations, I was reminded that, above everything else, I know I can always count on Mom.  No matter what the situation Mom has been a consistent source of support and encouragement enabling me to be more confident in life.

Confidence.  I think we can all use as much confidence as we can get.  From a gardening perspective, I find most of those I come in contact with are held back in their activities by a lack of confidence. Whether it be in selecting plants, pruning, decorating and design... most all gardening activities can be overwhelming for those who lack knowledge and (therefore) confidence.  The thought that “I may kill it” can keep many from performing the most simple task.  The gift I always want to pass to others is the knowledge necessary for others to enjoy their time in the garden as much as I do.  This being such a busy time for planting I thought it an ideal time to provide a list of reliable plants that can be counted on to perform well for you.  Let’s take a virtual stroll through the garden center and look at some of the plants that will give you confidence in your garden.

ANNUALS

Dragon Wing Begonia is an industrial strength blooming annual that doesn’t really show its stuff until the summer making it a “sleeper’ on the garden center shelves.  Great for baskets, pots or in flower beds. 

Cleome ‘Senorita Rosalita’ (Spider flower) is a dwarf version of an old-fashioned favorite annual sporting rosy-lilac flowers on sturdy stems.  This flower is very deer resistant.  Excellent as the centerpiece of large patio planters, tucked into perennial gardens or in mass plantings. 

Cuphea ‘Vermillion’ is the Firecracker plant that sports a profusion of bright orange flowers loved by hummingbirds, bees and butterflies.  I love this plant in a pot by itself or with other plants that attract hummingbirds. 

Pennisetum Rubrum (purple fountain grass) is the perfect centerpiece for mixed container gardens.  The arching fronds of deep maroon combine well with any color scheme. 

Petunia ‘Above and Beyond’ is a hanging basket and patio pot combination of 3 different pink Petunia varieties that is an absolute showstopper. 

Salvia ‘Rockin Fuschia’ is a new annual Salvia with brilliant flowers and sturdy growth that holds up during hot summers.  Great in a patio pot or in mass plantings. 

PERENNIALS

Astilbe ‘Superba’ is a 3-4’ tall Astilbe that loves moist and shady locations but will tolerate sun if enough moisture is present.  The huge pink flowers appear in July through summer.  Great for the back of a shady perennial planting or behind low growing shrubs. 

Echinacea ‘Cheyenne Spirit; is a newer coneflower that is offered in a wide range of colors and, because it is grown from seed, is much less expensive than many of the other new coneflowers out there.  Terrific in mass plantings or tucked in existing gardens.

Geranium ‘Rozanne’ is the longest blooming and most popular perennial in the country.  The bright blue flowers appear on the mounding plants that spreads 2’ wide.  Wonderful when planted under Knockout Roses and/or mixed with Coreopsis Crème Brulee. 

Sedum Sunsparkler series (‘Lime Zinger’ and ‘Dazzleberry’) are colorful, clumping groundcover perennials that are very drought tolerant and require no care.  Ideal for planting in dry areas where other plants will not survive.

SHRUBS

Clethra ‘Hummingbird’ is a one of many Dwarf Clethra varieties that grow well in nearly every place in your yard.  Summer flowers are fragrant and loved by pollinators.  I love these around patios and decks where the fragrance can be appreciated.

Hydrangea p. ‘Little Lime’ is a reliable-to-bloom, dwarf panicle Hydrangea that only gets 4’ tall in sun or part shade.  The lime-green flowers appear in July and last all summer long. 

Lilac ‘Bloomerang’ is a re-blooming, dwarf lilac that will grow 5-6’ tall and wide in sunny locations.  Also available in a tree-like, standard form making it an ideal specimen.

Spirea ‘Double Play’ series is a low growing shrub that loves the sun but tolerates partial shade.  Early season foliage is colorful and followed by bright pink flowers in June.  Trimming off dead flowers will promote re-blooming.

TROPICALS

Dipladenia are tropical plants often used in container gardens.  Available in shades of pink, red, white and yellow and in bush or as climbing vines.  These plants are very free flowering and drought resistant making them ideal for colorful patio planters.

TREES

Heptacodium miconoides is a beautiful tree that grows to 20’ tall and is covered in long lasting clouds of white flowers in late summer. 

Gaining confidence in the garden comes with success and given the ease and durability of these plants, they can make great additions to your garden.  As always, for information on what is the best plant for your specific needs, consult the garden experts found at your local garden center locations.  

Now go outside and have fun in the dirt!