Anyone can grow these proven hardies
THERE are plants that I never get questions about. Nothing ever troubles these sturdy specimens and gardeners never need to coax them along. If you are a new gardener or are starting a new garden in challenging conditions (such as any new subdivision), include these proven hardies.
These five made the list because they are like good friends — easy, nice to have around, but never demanding or aggressive. You’ll also find these five plus five more tough, fabulous plants online at calgaryherald.com/garden.
1. Auricula primrose (Primula auricula). It may seem unlikely that a plant would dare to bloom as early as April, but this rubbery-leaved beauty is unafraid of the worst of our weather. This primrose is just one of many hardy primroses that have no trouble with our difficult springs.
2. Columbine (Aquilegia spp.). This graceful plant should have a place in every garden. While at home in the dappled shade beneath trees, it also thrives among sun-loving companions elsewhere in the garden. The exotic multicoloured blooms hang high on slender plants that don’t take up much space in the garden. They may self-seed, but never seem out of place, wherever they appear.
3. Asiatic lily. This lily is a reliable treat in early summer. The plants don’t take up much room in comparison to the showy upright-facing yellow, orange, pink or white flowers.
4. Sedums. There is a sedum for everyone. These drought-tolerant, sunloving rubbery plants come in lowspreading ground covers such as Dragon’s Blood, medium-sized mounds such as Vera Jamieson and taller clumps such as Autumn Joy. Foliage can be green, variegated or deep burgundy, and flowers might be yellow, pink or purple. So much choice.
5. Peach-leaved bellflower (Campanula persicifolia). Some bellflowers can be aggressive, but this bellflower, although tough as nails, doesn’t spread too aggressively. Expanding clumps can be divided to share the joy. It thrives in sun to part shade. Unlike many perennials, it re-blooms if spent flowers are removed.
— Canwest News Service
Above: Asiatic lilies are a reliable treat in early summer. Top left: Columbine is at home in both shady and sunny garden areas.
Left: Dragon’s blood sedum offers a colourful, low-spreading ground cover.