The Q&A Archives: Care Free Garden

Question: Due to health reasons I must plan a care-free garden. I love roses, but would also like short perennials or short evergreens that could grow and survive our northeast Wisconsin weather. Please help. Our soil is clay-like.

Answer: The following shrubs and perennials will do well in your gardening zone:
Andromeda polifolia var. glaucophylla (bog rosemary)
Arctostaphylos uva-ursi (bearberry, kinnikinnik)
Gaultheria hispidula (creeping snowberry)
Gaultheria procumbens (wintergreen, checkerberry)
Juniperus communis (common juniper)
Juniperus horizontalis (creeping juniper, creeping savin)
Kalmia polifolia.(swamp laurel, bag laurel)
Ledum groenlandicum (Labrador tea, muskeg tea)

Campanula americanum (American bellflower, tall bellflower)
Corydalis sempervirens (pale corydalis)
Gentianopsis crinita (fringed gentian)
Lobelia spicata (pale lobelia)
Oenothera biennis (common evening primrose)
Rudbeckia hirta (black-eyed Susan)
Aster umbellatus (flat-top aster)
Astragalus canadensis (milk vetch, Canada milk vetch)
Baptisia alba (white false indigo)
Baptisia alba var. macrophylla (cream false indigo, plains wild indigo)
Caltha palustris (marsh marigold, cowslip)
Campanula rotundifolia (harebell)
Cardamine diphylla (two-leaved toothwort)
Castilleja sessiliflora (downy painted cup)
Caulophyllum thalictroides (blue cohosh)
Chelone glabra (turtlehead)
Cimicifuga racemosa (bugbane, black cohosh)
Claytonia virginica (narrow-leaved spring beauty)
Clintonia borealis (clintonia, blue-bead lily)
Coptis trifolia ssp. groenlandica (goldthread)
Coreopsis lanceolata (lance-leaved coreopsis)
Coreopsis palmata (stiff coreopsis)
Cornus canadensis (bunchberry)
Dalea candida (white prairie clover)
Dalea purpurea (purple prairie clover)
Desmodium canadense (Canada tick-trefoil, Canada tickclover)
Desmodium illinoense (Illinois tick-trefoil, Illinois tickclover)
Dicentra cucullaria (Dutchman's breeches)
Dodecatheon meadia (shooting star)
Echinacea purpurea (purple coneflower)

For additional ideas, the University of Wisconsin can provide information on native plants (usually care-free) and water-wise gardening.

Best wishes with your garden!

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