We refer to ourselves as “Bon Vivant,” a French term used for those who love to eat well and in abundance.
For this reason, we dispense the bulk of our energy on our vegetable garden (or our potager en français). With so much time needed to tend to our veggies (and human children and animals), we have little time to give to the rest of the garden.
I’m a huge fan of exotic plants, but at the end of the day, I just can not commit to replicating their ideal environments.
What we needed at the start and what we still need today are low-maintenance plants. It took us a few years to understand how to achieve and maintain a lush and floral garden outside of our potager, but we did it!
Here is a list of 10 of my favorite low-maintenance plants in our garden.
With an orchid-like flower that looks like nothing else, Iris is appreciated for its unique beauty. Iris comes in various colors, but the most common variation is a beautiful purple and yellow. They come in bulbs (actually called rhizome) best planted in mid spring or early summer.
Iris blossoms in spring, but its hearty, stalk-like foliage will stay looking good until early winter, making iris an excellent choice to line garden walls or even place in front of your home. The plant likes a sunny exposure but also thrives in mid-shade. Once your iris are planted, they will come back every year with no additional work.
You can also easily multiply your iris by digging up the root-like rhizome and cutting it into different pieces for planting in new areas.
Roses have a reputation for being difficult: they need a lot of attention, an expert pruning, are sensitive to diseases, etc. This used to be true. Today the new varietals of rosebushes are much more resistant than your grandparent’s variety.
Roses can be planted in any sort of soil as long as it’s not excessively humid and preferably aired out in advance.
A good pruning once a year will help ensure that your bushes produce an abundance of flowers, but if you forget about it, no worries: you will still get plenty of everyone’s favorite perfumed beauties. To ensure the best peace of mind, avoid the climbing varietals that tend to grow fast and become invasive without regular pruning.
Another bulb that requires little to no care, tulips are a gorgeous spring fixture. If you want to make a big, bold statement in your garden, plant many of them!
You can mix colors but try to stick to two or three maximum. Complementary colors work best. My favorite color combos are purple and yellow and yellow and blue; it turns heads, and the explosion of color sets everyone in its province in a cheery disposition!
Tulips will come back year after year like most bulbs, though the colors may shift.
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A climbing plant with beautiful flowers, can cover up a fence or a wall in the blink of an eye, smells like heaven and requires no maintenance? We love Honeysuckle!
If you wish for your honeysuckle to sprawl across a wall or hedge, be sure to place support, such as a trellis, so that the honeysuckles can swirl and weave themselves through. There are a variety of flower colors available but they all carry the same honey-like perfume. Honeysuckle is truly a set it and forget it plant once it reaches past its early stages.
They can grow out of control but this quick spread is easily manageable with light maintenance once a year.
A classic feature of flower gardens, with their impressive spheres of flowers, hydrangeas are also very easy to keep. Just make sure to plant them in acidic soil (available in most garden supply stores).
Hydrangeas also prefer shade, so it’s a perfect way to have flowers to keep in the darker corners of your garden. Once planted and established, hydrangeas will come back on their own every year.
Seeding every year to have annual flowers might sound like a chore, but marigolds make it easy. Put the seeds directly in the ground, hardly covered (a half-inch of soil), water, and wait.
With the first heat of spring, your plants will begin to make their appearance. They’ll give flowers until fall, without any real care outside of an occasional watering.
The marigolds will also reseed themselves, meaning they’ll come back every year naturally.
A lush, upright, and rounded evergreen shrub, Spotted Laurel is a great addition to shady areas in your garden.
This easy maintenance plant gives you dainty purple flowers in the spring and if pollinated, shiny, red ornamental berries that ripen in fall and often persist through the winter. A yearly pruning to prevent your plant from growing too tall is all the care this pest and disease-resistant plant needs to thrive.
One of my favorite plants in our garden, Snow Drops is a delightful reminder that winter is coming to an end.
These bulbs generally show themselves in late winter in to mid-spring.
The foliage will show first and persist for some time after the slightly fragrant white flowers drop.
Like many gardens, we have a few sun-drenched spots with rocky soil. These areas turned out to be a perfect match for Myrtle Spurge.
These evergreen, succulent perennials grow in clusters with blue-green leaves. They love the sun and give small chartreuse to pink colored flowers. But take note – these plants are considered invasive in the western united states as they spread easily in perfect conditions.
Plum Royals (Coral Bells)
Plum Royals are a favorite in many gardens for their fuss-free nature. The lush, bell-shaped purple plants give beautiful purple foliage year-round.
They are quite drought and heat resistant, and the purple color deepens with sun exposure. This plant gives dainty flowers that shoot out of large stems in the early summer and is a favorite hangout for your native butterflies.
Which flower do you prefer, or which one would you recommend to add to a beautiful garden?
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