Answer: In your area, based on your zip code, you need to select plants that are considered winter hardy to USDA zone 5. In general, if you see a plant described as suited to zones 3 to 8 then it is probably relatively easy to grow.
Perennial flowers live for three or more years so would be the type to plant if you want them to come back every year.
There is a huge variety of plants you could use. You might begin your research using the following search feature which allows you to set the zone, light conditions and plant type: http://garden.org/plantfinder/
Enjoy your planting!
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