To be a successful gardener, you must begin at the beginning, so to speak. Proper tools are a necessity, but you
don’t need many tools or expensive ones. A simple garden spade for digging holes, a hand trowel and some flexible, well-fitting gloves are really all you need at this point. Any hardware or “big box” home improvement stores will have what you require. Put on some comfortable old clothes that can handle a little dirt and you’re ready to go.
Regardless of your environment, or planting zone (more about that later), these few plants will perform for you the
first year and many years thereafter. Perennials are plants that come back year after year to anchor your garden
and keep you feeling like a knowledgeable gardener. Choose perennials whenever possible for the many happy
returns! Here are some guaranteed successful plants to start your new garden with:
A hardy grower is Sedum Autumn Joy, a fleshy-leafed plant that starts out soft green in the Spring, and produces millions of tiny buds on flat heads that change to a lovely deep rose color by the end of Summer. As Fall draws on, the color deepens to rust and the leaves begin to change as well. Cut the stems back just before winter, and come Spring again the little fella will peek through the soil just after the daffodils fade. Purchase at the garden store in your home improvement center or local nursery. Sedum can be multiplied by dividing every year by simply digging a piece out when it begins to grow in Spring. Plant the new shoot in it’s own space and you’ll have a new plant in a few months. Sedum has the capacity to grow to about 2 ft. tall and 2 ft. wide by 3 – 4 years.
Another garden workhorse is Coreopsis Tickseed, a sunny yellow daisy-like flower that you can plant from seed for years of pleasure. This little flower will spread, or “naturalize” on it’s own. Spear shaped leaves in abundance frame the tall stems with multiple blooms. The more you deadhead, or pick off the spent flowers, the more it will continue to bloom. This flower will keep producing right through till the really cold evenings. Cut down to the ground and look for them again in the Spring. This plant flowers starting in late Spring.
Daylilies are so lovely that you will appear to be a garden savant! Stella D’oro is a beautiful golden shade with a ruffled edge that will actually bloom twice in one season. Long, thin leaves almost overwhelm the blossoms, but so many can open at once that it will look like a star-studded Hollywood premier. There are many varieties of Daylilies in many colors, ranging from orange to a maroon and cream mix. Sizes vary as well; Stella D’oro tops out a about 1 foot and a half tall, with orange “Tiger Lily” attaining heights of up to 5 feet!
Back to planting zones quickly: this is your area in the United States that determines the maximum and minimum temperatures at which specific plant types will thrive. For instance, much of Arizona is planting zone 8 and is mostly hot and dry. Therefore, plants that prefer a climate of that type will thrive there. Some suggestions there would be Cacti and Aloe Vera plants. The National Gardeners Association website has useful information for your planting zone, including how to find out what it is.
Finally, the plants detailed above are not fussy. You don’t need the best soil for these flora to be happy. They all require little more than regular watering when rain isn’t forthcoming, and deadheading of the flowers (not the Sedum). As separate features, or planted together in the same area, these diverse and attractive specimens will reward you with a sense of accomplishment and perhaps the bravery to conquer bigger challenges. Maybe roses next year…