Flower garden ideas

By Jean Sanders
Info Guru,

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Have time to sit in your garden with these hardy flowers.
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Durable flowers make gardening easy

It's an understatement to say that starting a garden can be a real challenge. And now, with much of the United States facing unusually inclement weather in the past few years, establishing new plants is harder than usual. So if you're a normal gardener, you've probably inadvertently killed some of your prized garden specimens. Not to worry! You can even the odds by adding tough-as-nails plants to your garden. Although the following suggestions aren't literally impossible to kill - - they will do well with the barest minimum of your attention.


One flower expert writes that daylilies got a permanent spot on her "indestructible" list a few years ago, after a friend gave her a paper shopping bag full of plants she'd dug out of her yard. They sat on the patio, in that very same paper bag, for more than two months before she finally got around to planting them. Did it hurt them? Doesn't look like it. It also doesn't seem to have mattered that many of them wound up in the near-total shade of a dogwood tree, where they bloom anyway.

Furthermore, "They're very drought tolerant," Daylilies have a wide tolerance for varied climates, too, as they're hardy in USDA Hardiness Zones 4-9. This writer had a very similar experience with daylilies in the red clay of Tennessee. Put them anywhere and they flourish and multiply. Truly beautiful. Check out all the garden catalogs that feature daylilies. You'll have to use some restraint!

Perennial salvia

While the bright red salvia (often used as a bedding plant) is a frost-tender annual, this perennial form of salvia (zones 4-9) has spikes of purple blooms from mid-spring to early fall, shrugging off heat, humid air and drought conditions with equanimity. Its strength comes from its deep taproots, which seek and store water for the lean times. The taproots also let salvia regenerate, dandelion-like, if the top of the plant is destroyed. This is a wonderful plant to include with your list of flower garden ideas. It's relatively inexpensive, too—which is always a plus!


Tap roots and other types of thickened, fleshy roots are a great survival strategy for many charming ornamental plants, including the sun-loving sedums, most of which are both attractive and tough (they'll grow in zones 3-9). For example, it's possible to propagate a plant like Sedum 'Autumn Joy' simply by plucking a single leaf off a plant and tucking it in some halfway decent garden soil. In a month or so, a tiny new sedum will sprout from the base of the withering leaf.

Master gardener Peggy Walter says this sedum does well in her Peoria, Illinois, garden, too. "It's beautiful at all stages in life," she says, with flowers that at first blush pale pink, then grow deeper and deeper red as the fall progresses. It's a great flower garden idea because its durability is matched by its beauty.


If you're into mail-order gardening, check out the vast variety of hostas. They bring a delightful variety of unusual foliage to the shade garden. Many plant must remain in pots until they have sprouted. - but bare-root hostas can be placed in good soil right into the shade garden, where they're none the worse for wear. (Hostas are cold-hardy in zones 3-9.) A must addition to your great flower garden ideas.

Shasta daisies

Even as seedlings, they are easy to grow. Plant them in individual 4-inch pots next to your back steps through most of their first summer, watering about once a month, and between that and the natural rainfall they receive, they'll probably all survive! As established plants they're ridiculously easy to handle too, allowing themselves to be divided roughly and transplanted in any season except when they're in bloom. Hardy in zones 5-10, they prefer full sun, though dappled shade is OK.

There are dozens of other plants that can be included in our list of flower garden ideas that are great to grow and hard to destroy, even for inexperienced gardeners. While you can always check with local nurseries and extension services to get more suggestions, there are some plants that, as a class, are almost always easy to grow - in particular, bulbs and tuberous plants. Browse through all the online gardening sites for your garden needs.

Happy planting!

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