Plants to make gardening easy – Jackson Clarion Ledger

What is the easiest group of plants for a garden that already has all you want or can care for?

Most landscapes generally progress from the trees, meatball-shaped shrubs and lawn installed by contractors when the house is built, with other stuff coming and going until we get to where it all surpasses the amount of time, effort and personal level of frustration we can spare. And then we get stuck.

So that’s it, then? Get out and mow, prune, spread fresh mulch and maybe pull or spray a few weeds. What’s next that won’t gobble what little time we have to spend outdoors these days?

Truth is, a lot of folks simply are not gardeners at heart. Don’t know what to do next, or, for that matter, don’t really care. There are other irons in the fire than setting out and caring for plants.

All that said, there are some real all-seasons gems that are easy to plant and come back for many years with practically no care at all, other than sticking them in the dirt in the first place. Things like daylilies, shrub roses, dwarf yucca, slivery Artemisia, althaea and camellias.

But mostly I’m thinking about hardy bulbs, one of the most overlooked groups of great garden plants.

Not tulips, which have to be replaced every year, or so many of the daffodils that do better farther north. Or the gingers and giant elephant ears that have to be dug and stored over winter. Or gladiolus that sometimes comes back, sometimes doesn’t.

For that matter, I’m not even talking about the couple of dozen absolutely dependable daffodils that do come back to bloom and multiply and spread, because they are all but taken for granted. I have a great list of those if you want to email me for it.

I mean the little grape hyacinths, Spanish bluebells and the low-growing star flowers (Ipheion). In the summer, we have super hardy elephant ears and crinums, the most common being the white-with-red-stripes “milk and wine” lily. None have ever died. And spotted orange tiger lily and the awesome fragrant Starlight lily. Edible flowering chives, garlic chives and other alliums and climbing glorioso lily. And the exotic but stinky voodoo lily (Amorphophallus).

What am I missing? All these plants provide year-round beauty with no care at all. Get some this year.

To email Felder Rushing, go to www.felderrushing.net.

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