My favorite perennials in May

by Gardening Coach Susan Harris

I’m always on the look-out for easy-care perennials to recommend, and here are some of the easiest, most sustainable garden plants there are for the garden, all looking mighty fine in my garden and my neighbor’s garden this month.

Clockwise from upper left, first is Amsonia hubrechtii in full flower, after which its fern-like leaves will look lovely until they turn orange in the fall and look even better.   Everyone who sees this plant loves it.  They’re drought-tolerant and maintenance is basically cutting off the dead foliage in winter.

Blooming in dark purple is the deservedly popular Salvia ‘May Night’, filling out nicely in their second year.   Salvias are quite drought-tolerant, so again the maintenance is basically a one-time pruning in winter.  You can see part of a skirt of lambs’ ears, with some evening primrose (Oenothera speciosa) just starting to bloom in light pink.  Those primroses seed freely and eventually fill out the front of the border, if allowed.  If not, the seedlings are easy to yank.

Not blooming at all but a definite stunner is the famous Hakonechloa grass that needs less sun than most grasses, and who doesn’t love the color?  In front of it are some epidemedians, not in bloom yet.  More easy-care plant that don’t get fussed over.

Last are the multiply-colored blooms of spiderwort, officially Tradescantia virginiana, a local native.   Local gardeners fret over how terrible it looks by mid-summer but the solution to that problem is spreading quickly on the gardening email groups – just whack back that ugly foliage and faster than you’d imagine, some fresh foliage will appear.

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