Answer: If you're on a really tight budget you can purchase seeds. Perennials grown from seed won't flower this year, but they'll be well established and ready to flower next year. Here's a list of my favorite hardy perennials:
Coreopsis verticillata (Thread Leaf Coreopsis)
Varieties: Moonbeam, Zagreb.
Flower Color: Soft yellow, gold.
Plant Size: 12 to 18 in.
Planting Site: Full sun and good drainage. Landscape
Use: Front of the border; specimen in a mixed border or for mass plantings.
Comments: Season-long flower color; attracts butterflies; fine texture.
Veronica x hybrida (Veronica)
Varieties: Sunny Border Blue.
Flower Color: Blue. Plant Size: 18 to 24 in. tall, 12 to 18 in. wide.
Planting Site: Full sun and good drainage.
Landscape Use: Specimen in the middle of a mixed border.
Comments: Attract butterflies; long-flowering perennial; coarse texture.
Rudbeckia fulgida var. sullivantii (Rudbeckia)
Flower Color: Golden yellow. Plant Size: 24 to 36 in. tall.
Planting Site: Full sun.
Landscape Use: Specimen plant, massed group or wild flower garden, perennial border.
Comments: Attracts butterflies; dried seedheads attract birds; heat and drought tolerant; true hardy perennial; flowers mid to late summer; perennial.
Echinacea purpurea (Purple Coneflower)
Varieties: Magnus, Bravado, White Swan.
Flower Color: Pink-purple or white.
Plant Size: 24-36 inches tall. Planting Site: Full sun.
Landscape Use: Specimen in a mixed border; mass plantings; attracts birds and butterflies; cutflower.
Comments: Heat- and drought-resistant; nonstop blooming from late June through September.
Scabiosa columbaria (Pincushion Flower)
Varieties: Butterfly Blue, Butterfly Pink, Pink Mist.
Flower Color: Pink or lavender-blue.
Plant Size: 24 inches.
Planting Site: Full sun to partial shade.
Landscape Use: Non-stop blooming summer through fall.
Comments: Heat and disease resistant; prefers moist, well-drained site. Mixed border, mass plantings, or container; attracts butterflies.
Best wishes with your new garden!
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