I’m still putting together my list of plants I’d like to include in our gardens.
I grew Borage in the front garden at our home downstate, and it was so easy to grow, I almost couldn’t believe it. I just threw down seeds and – voila – I had a lovely patch of Borage. It has a lovely fuzzy texture, and the rather delicate blossoms are a beautiful purple color fading to white toward the center. In that zone 6 garden, it self-seeded and came back every year. I’ll have to see if that holds true here in zone 5. It also has a pretty long blooming season, which of course I love. I never tried it then, but apparently the blossoms have a honey-esque taste! It’s also supposed to be a good companion plant for spinach, tomatoes, and strawberries, which I’m going to keep in mind as I continue planning.
So many gardens contain Iris and for good reason. It’s a lovely bloom and even the foliage looks elegant. Of course there are a zillion variations to choose from, and I’ll likely go with whatever comes my way. I already have one passed along from my mom last fall!
Coreopsis is a plant that I happened to start growing downstate because I found a few of them on clearance at the home improvement store. They turned out to be awesome! Some butterflies eat the foliage, and the flowers attract them as well. Speaking of which, they usually have a TON of blossoms which is really striking against the somewhat delicate-looking foliage.
For classic annuals, you can’t miss with Marigolds. They also self-seeded in my garden downstate, though I don’t think they probably will here in zone 5. It’s easy to save the seeds, though! These flowers are awesome companion plants and theoretically discourage mosquitoes from hanging around. Given my allergic reaction to mosquito bites, I’ll try whatever I can do keep them away.
Russian Sage is another plant I was introduced to by purchasing a clearance-aisle not-in-great-shape plant. I really dig the way it grows – it gets tall-ish, but doesn’t tend to droop over and isn’t a thick plant, so it provides a nice backdrop for other plants without making the area seem too crowded. It also blooms well into October and attracts bees and birds.
I didn’t grow Penstemon very much – I think I got some on sale somewhere – but I did like it a lot and would like to grow it again. Theoretically it is attractive to hummingbirds!
Verbena is another classic that I think will fit in well in my cottage garden. It also attracts butterflies and has beautiful blossoms.
Finally for this post, we have Yarrow. Yet another plant I started growing downstate because I found some on clearance, I found that I loved the fern-y foliage and tiny clustered blooms. It attracts both pollinators and predatory insects (who will eat other, less desirable insects).