For a more economical approach, select your perennials in quart pots for the lowest purchase price. This lets you buy the maximum number of plants for the money available. If you want more immediate color for presentation, increase to one gallon blooming individuals for older plants. Some upscale garden centers have “instant gratification” perennials in 2- or 5-gallon pots in full bloom. Though these are pricey, they create a big reveal drama in mom’s favorite flower bed makeover.
The five plants listed below are mostly North American natives often found among the prairie species and wildflowers. These are the original species, but breeders have created many named varieties that vary in size and flower color. The original retains all its natural toughness too often lost with horticultural strains. This super adapted resiliency includes resistance to diseases and pests that evolved on this continent over millennia. It’s like classic cars: old and original is always better.
All of these species can reach 3 to 4 feet in flower, so they become quite visually spectacular at maturity.
Large magenta pink blossoms followed by attractive seed pods that draw birds.
GAILLARDIA X GRANDIFLORA
Lower growing bright red and yellow flowers that really take the heat.
Lavender blossoms are the quintessential bee plant for spectacular color.
Old fashioned favorite with golden sunset tones and vigorous growth.
A snow white vigorous flowering perennial created in early 20th century California by Luther Burbank.
Clip this list and take it shopping so the garden center where staff will quickly round up your order. Throw in a few bags of compost for soil prep and mulch. Then the only dilemma you face is how to hide the work day from mom.
Maureen Gilmer is an author, horticulturist and landscape designer. Learn more at www.MoPlants.com