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It’s Mother’s Day weekend: Plant some flowers

Through the Garden Gate: Here are 10 foolproof perennials that are great for beginners.

When I was a kid, I wasn’t interested in growing flowers like my mother and my Aunt Marion were. They both had flower borders filled with peonies and hardy amaryllis. And my aunt was famous for her irises and hollyhocks. My mom planted red geraniums, white petunias and ivy in her window boxes on the front of our house. She also grew them in two large pots on the porch.

Back then I thought flowers were OK, but not exciting — I found vegetable gardening much more interesting. But then I turned 50, and my flower-growing genes must have kicked in. I planted my first flowerbed on the south side of our house and filled it with about 20 different types of perennial flowers — many of which were transplanted from my mom’s flowerbed.

An obsession?

That was 12 years ago. Since then, I’ve added probably a dozen more varieties of perennial flowers and plants, and my flowerbeds surround the house. My four sons think flowers have become my obsession. I like to think of it more as a hobby.

I love planting new flowers and watching them grow and bloom. My favorites are peonies, irises, hardy amaryllis, (no surprises there), hydrangeas, daffodils, tulips, jonquils, purple cone flowers, sedum, roses, hostas, lilacs and foxglove.

In addition to planting perennials, I also plant about 300 impatiens in the flower beds in front of my house interspersed with perennials. And because you can never have too many flowers, I also buy four hanging baskets filled with annuals for my front porch, and I have four additional containers I fill with annuals on my porch.

My husband enables my addiction to flowers by helping me plant them each spring. He also does most of the watering throughout the growing season. I like to water my annuals on the front porch. He waters my roses and annuals in front of the house and whatever needs watering in my other flowerbeds. In a normal year, most of my perennials don’t require much water if it rains a couple of times a week.

We add shredded bark to the flowerbeds after we are done planting to help control weeds and hold in moisture. Of course, we still need to weed and water, but the mulch really helps.

Think you have a brown thumb? Here is a list of 10 perennials that require little maintenance that are practically foolproof:

  1. Purple cone flowers. Bloom in summer. Plant in direct sun. Drought tolerant.
  2. Peonies. Bloom in late spring. Plant in partial to full sun. Winter hardy.
  3. Tulips. Bulbs that bloom in spring.
  4. Daffodils. Bulbs that bloom in spring.
  5. Jonquils. Bulbs that bloom in spring.
  6. Hostas. Plants that leaf out in spring, last through fall and grow anywhere.
  7. Sedum. Plants that leaf out in spring and produce flowers in fall.
  8. Daylilies. Bloom summer through fall. Grow anywhere. Practically indestructible.
  9. Moss flox. Blooms in spring. Dense enough to prevent weeds from growing.
  10. Hydrangeas. Bloom in summer. Plant in partial to full sun. Require little care.

These easy-to-grow flowers will help you gain confidence in growing flowers in your garden. They require little care and return year after year. Start with a few easy plants and get growing.

Come back next Friday when I will talk about teaching your kids to help in the garden.

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