All gardens and landscapes present their own challenges for gardeners. Weather, climate, microclimate and soil constitution greatly impact plant life. Pests and disease may be further factors that affect the health and well-being of the garden. Of course, gardening skill is additionally important - there are many new homeowners and novices entering the garden world who are only beginning to learn the basics of dealing with a garden.
For all these reasons, tough plants can make a big difference in your gardening scene. The following plants are some of the toughest plants you can grow; their indomitable strength and endurance helps them face the toughest weather and climate conditions, as well as neglect when the gardener has other work to do.
Before discussing specific plants, it is a good idea to assess the garden in question. Know the obstacles on your landscape. Exposed, coastal, bog and sloping gardens set up difficult gardening situations. Microclimates might set up potential problematic situations that include overly sunny areas, damp or dry conditions. The garden soil might either be too acidic or too alkaline. The type of soil might not be conducive to certain garden plants. Finally, weather can play havoc on gardens with a slew of events: wind, rain, drought, etc. Being aware of all your garden's obstacles will allow you to choose tough plants most applicable for your situation.
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. This tough wildflower is ideal for open fields, even in very sloped or hilly landscapes.
Marsh marigolds, or Caltha palustris, is well suited to boggy sites or along wet ditches and near streams. Some gardeners find them ideal to include in water gardens right along their garden pond. All that these beauties ask is that you plant them in an area that is permanently damp and water retentive.
Hawthorn is a wonderfully hardy shrub that will even grow into a tree if kept unpruned. It works quite well as a border and 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. They are excellent plants to help gardeners combat soil erosion. Once these beauties get their roots firmly dug in the ground, they will prove indomitable.
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.
English ivy is an excellent plant for any style garden, but for tough situations, it is an incredible species to garden with. It is an ideal groundcover, but a natural climber as well. An aggressive grower, English ivy thrives in dry and shady conditions.
Gardening with tough plants can make a big difference in the look and overall health of your garden and landscape. While all plants have prescribed conditions where they will do best, these tough species seem to be alright even when their preferences cannot be precisely maintained. Furthermore, not only are these plants tough, they offer appealing shapes and attractive blooms or foliage to the setting which can greatly impact the look of the garden for the better.
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