by High Country Gardens
I like lists. That's how I do my grocery shopping and organize the day's "To Do" items. Lists are a great way to boil things down to the basics. Put it in a list and I can read what I need to know in less than a minute. So I find lists to invaluable for gardening. With so many variables to consider when planning and planting a landscape or flower bed, breaking down pages of plants into their own category lists is a great way to organize and sort your potential choices.
When asked what I recommend as the best low care, grow-most- anywhere perennials, I offer these two lists of cold hardy perennials. All of these plants are:
- Easy-to-grow and are successful in a wide range of growing conditions
- Rabbit and deer resistant
- Long or repeat-blooming
Top 10 Old World Water-wise Perennials
These are ornamental plants that are native to Europe, the Mediterranean and western Asia. They can be grown across most of the US. And these perennials are a fantastic sources of nectar and pollen for honeybees and bumblebees (except Feather Reed Grass).
Here is my list in no particular order as they are all great:
- 'Blue Spires' Russian Sage (Perovskia atriplicifolia)
- 'Coronation Gold' Yarrow (Achillea fillipendulina)
- 'Dark Knight' Blue Mist Spirea (Caryopteris clandonensis)
- 'Blue Glow' Globe Thistle (Echinops banaticus)
- 'Karl Foerster' Feather Reed Grass (Calamagrostis acutifolia)
- 'May Night' Sage (Saliva nemerosa)
- 'Moonshine' Yarrow (Achillea hybrid)
- 'Powis Castle' Sage (Artemisia hybrid)
- 'Select Blue' Catmint (Nepeta x faassenii)
- 'Vera' English Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia)
Top 10 Native Water-wise Perennials
These are many of the plants that I include when designing water-wise landscapes for the drier parts of the country, west of the Mississippi River. They will do best when planted in a region that gets less than 25 inches of precipitation annually. They are also excellent for feeding pollinators, especially native bees and hummingbirds (*).
Again, they are in no particular order as they are all winners:
- 'Blonde Ambition' Blue Grama Grass (Bouteloua gracilis)
- 'Desert Solstice' Hummingbird Mint (Agastache hybrid) *
- 'Gold on Blue' Prairie Zinnia (Zinnia grandiflora)
- Licorice Mint Hyssop (Agastache rupestris) *
- 'Perfect Pink' Santa Fe Phlox (Phlox nana)
- Pineleaf Beardtongue (Penstemon pinifolius & cultivars) *
- 'Raspberry Delight' Hybrid Bush Sage (Salvia hybrid) *
- 'Santa Fe' Perennial Sunflower (Helianthus maximiliana)
- Silver Ironweed (Vernonia lindheimeri v. leucophylla)
- Sulphur Buckwheat (Eriogonum umbellatum & cultivars)
Remember, these Old World perennials can be mixed in with our native species and vice versa. I just like to organize my recommendations into lists that provide additional information about their origins.
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