The Q&A Archives: Where do I start??

Question: I just moved in with my fiancee in his back-yard-over-the-garage-apartment, that is on the 2nd floor with a little 5m x 2,5m patio. I would like to fill it up with green plants and beautiful flowers, I need something that does not need a lot of care and attention and that will last me a long time. What kind of plants and flowers do i get? Help!

Answer: Most tropical looking plants need lots of care so you might want to think about using some of these tough yet lovely plants:

Yarrow will tolerate either a clay or chalky soil. Achillea filipendulina boasts large golden flowerheads that add dramatic color to the garden but look equally stunning when cut or dried for the vase. This gorgeous species will also attract helpful insects to the garden like butterflies and bees. This plant tends to thrive in extremely hot and dry situations.

Hawthorn is a wonderfully hardy shrub that will even grow into a tree if kept unpruned. It tolerates many garden conditions well. Its lovely green leaves become covered with white blossoms in spring that are intensely sweet to smell. In the fall, red berries are produced. This plant is a favorite for wildlife gardens as it attracts birds looking to nest.

Baby's breath tolerates sunny conditions and soil that is dry or even sandy. Its small white flowers are frequently dried for flower arrangements, but in the garden this planting is actually breathtaking.

Red-vein enkianthus, or Enkianthus campanulatus, is a gorgeous shrub of the Far East. Its teacup or bell shaped blooms may be cream, red or pink and the green leaves change colors in the fall to exhibit vibrant oranges and reds. This shrub does quite well in a highly acidic soil and full sun. It also tolerates some shade very well.

Globe thistle is an intriguing plant to behold, with its striking blue flowerheads atop silvery stems. Plant them in your sunniest spots in order for them to thrive.

Sneezeweed are red and copper colored flowers that are prairie enthusiasts who love heavy clay soils but will tolerate chalky soils too. They will thrive in plenty of sunlight and produce masses of their characteristic blossoms.

The wood fern is a very adaptive foliage plant and will add its characteristic splash of greenery to many garden situations. This fern will spice up the most barren settings and will thrive in plenty of shade and in dry soil.

The California poppy comes in orange, red and cream colored blooms. When planted, they typically spread to abundant proportions making them ideal for meadows or fields. They flourish in poor soils and lots of sun and heat. These plants are as tough as they are lovely.

Hope these suggestions are helpful.

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