The Q&A Archives: Low Maintenance Gardens in Sun and Shade

Question: I would like to ask for advice on my flower beds. I have two, one is shaded and the other is almost all sun. What type of flower (annual or perennial) could I use that would thrive in both conditions? I would prefer ones that are low maintenance and have long lasting bloom. Am I asking too much?

Answer: Well, low maintenance and long bloom is what every gardener longs for! The first thing you need to do is prepare the beds well. Add LOTS of compost and make sure that they are weed free before planting. This is the most often ignored step in establishing a low maintenance garden! In the shade garden, a mix of hostas, astilbe and some annual impatiens should give you a fairly low-maintenance garden with continuous bloom.

There are so many choices for the sunny garden, I will start with just a few suggestions, because as you become more experienced with flowers you will enjoy adding others.For early bloom, try catmint, iris and coral bells. Midsummer bloomers include hardy geraniums, bee-balm, liatris, daylilies and phlox. Round out the season with rudbeckia, purple cone flower and asters. Of course you can add any annuals that you enjoy to balance your color scheme and help fill in until the perennials become well established. None of these plants are very fussy, and should give you a continuous season of bloom. Mulch your gardens and keep them watered during dry spells (1 inch of water a week), and your perennial gardens should please you just fine!

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