Any­one can grow these proven hardies

Winnipeg Free Press - Section G - - HOMES - By Nora Bryan

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.

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