Last summer I wrote a post on my favorite hardy plants and called it the DIY Gardener’s Guide. I’m back this summer with Part 2 and am sharing more of my favorites. The plants in both Part 1 and Part 2 survived the hardest winter Ohio has had in years. Not only low temps but record amounts of snowfall. All of these plants came back this year and look wonderful. I was sure I would lose something but my only fatalities were a few boxwood. On to my list.
A few years ago I received three peony plants as a remembrance when my father-in-law passed away. I planted them in my fence row garden and have waited patiently for blooms. Last year I had none. This year I was blessed with several blooms on each bush. These peonies are the loveliest color but I have no idea exactly what it is. It’s a very vibrant, dark pink. Peonies require no care at all. They die down in the fall and appear again in the spring. I did worry a little about all the ants they were attracting as the buds were forming. Turns out I had no reason to worry. The ants actually help the buds form. By the time they bloomed the ants were all gone. Peonies love sun but they did fine in my partial sun conditions. I would like to plant some more peonies in different colors. I may even start a peony fan club.
One of the reasons I planted the pink peonies was because I knew they would exactly match the dianthus that was already there. It’s a few years old and comes up in the late spring. The blooms are so pretty and last for several weeks. Again, there is really nothing to do except sheer off the blooms when they die down…and this is only if you want to. I didn’t last year and they came back again this year better than ever. Dianthus does expand and fill in nicely. If it gets too think it’s very easy to dig up and move.
I am including lavender in this list because even though I have not had amazing success, my lavender has refused to die! Some years it looks better than others and I think that depends on how much rain we get. Lavender likes to be dry. The picture above is from just a few weeks ago and this is the best my lavender has ever looked. Not abundant blooms, but it looks healthy and has the most incredible scent. A few years ago I was ready to pull it completely out and now I’m glad that I didn’t. I’m hopeful that next year will bring even more blooms. There are different kinds of lavender. Mine is Hidcote English Lavender but Munstead is also a good choice. For projects and recipes that use lavender click HERE. (The lavender shortbread cookies are amazing!)
The first phlox I ever planted is the basic white version called David. I made a mistake though and placed the plants too close together. Some of them were crowded out and I ended up with just one large plant. David has a pure white bloom and smells amazing. Mine hasn’t bloomed yet but I will be sure to share a photo on Instagram when it does. What is blooming is my Peppermint Twist. I bought these plants on a whim a few years ago at Kroger. They are sturdy and have perfect blooms. You can tell this is a hybrid because there is one lone pink flower that must have missed the memo! Like most perennials, this dies down in the fall and comes up again in the early summer. Phlox has a tendency to get mildewy at the root so I try not to overwater. They make a lovely cut flower but don’t last long. After a few days the petals start to fall off.
Lily of the Valley
In the spring I wrote a post dedicated to this delicate flower. Decorating with Lilies of the Valley is easy and their scent packs a punch. They sometimes get a bad rap because they can be very invasive. They make an excellent ground cover because they multiply each year. I planted mine in an empty spot under my kitchen window. They are easy to grow and very easy to share. In the spring when the ground is moist, just pull them up with the roots intact and pass them along. That’s how I got all of mine. You can read about that here. Like I said in Part 1, growing these plants is not only easy but very satisfying. They have all been around for a long time and are tried-and-true favorites. A little water, a little sun and a prayer or two are all you need. More Gardening Inspiration!
Click the image below to visit Part 1 of this series.
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