Budding gardeners can plant the seeds of success by choosing bulbs, blooms and other growing things that can stand up to bad weather, pests and other forces of nature. You can always try finicky plants later, after your skill and confidence establish roots.
Here are some can’t-miss picks for your garden:
GET DAFFY Daffodils are hearty and resilient, able to withstand a March snow storm. They are easy to grow and propagate and will come back spring after spring. “Plus, deer and squirrels won’t eat them,” says Valerie Cordrey of East Coast Garden Center. On the other hand, tulips play out after a few years—if the critters don’t munch them first.
MADE IN THE SHADE Annuals can provide a pop of color in plots that don’t get direct sunlight. The humble begonia is a real trooper, sending up blooms from spring planting until frost. Begonias also endure heat without complaining. But impatiens are impatient when it comes to watering. “Impatiens will give you great display and color—but they won’t make it if you leave them with no water and go to the beach for a few days,” says Christian Tauber of Old Country Gardens.
A FERN THAT STANDS FIRM Dryopteris marginalis, commonly known as the wood fern, is a native plant that thrives in cool, moist places. It’s non-invasive and also can adapt to sun and hot, dry soil. “It’s a real survivor,” says Lenny Wilson of the Delaware Center for Horticulture. The royal fern, osmunda regalis, has delicate fronds that wave like a princess passing by in her carriage. Be prepared to coddle it with lots of moisture and organic material.