1. Munstead Lavender
Not only does this perennial produce a brilliantly smelling essential oil, its fragrance has been linked to promoting relaxation and sleep. Care: likes good drainage and full sun. Prune lightly in the spring. Hardy to zone 4 or 5.
Looking for a pollinator-friendly garden? Try Yarrow. This easy-to-care for perennial attracts bees, wasps and (bonus!) butterflies. Care: needs very little care and will also tolerate poor soil fertility. Highly drought tolerant, hardy to zone 3.
3. California Poppy
This hardy annual comes in colours of luminous tangerine and pinks. Poppies self sow, meaning they will come back year after year. Care: direct seeding in the garden is better than transplanting seedlings as the roots don’t like to be disturbed.
Easy to start from seed, Cosmos are a great choice if you want to attract pollinators. Care: they prefer poor, dry soil with little fertilizer.
5. Lambs Ear
With leaves soft to the touch, this is the plant you loved as a kid! This hardy perennial blooms pink-purple flowers during the summer months. Its silver colour brings an interesting element into the garden’s colour palette. Care: prefers a less humid climate. Hardy to zone 5.
6. Red Hot Poker
This unusual looking plant has fiery red, orange and yellow spiky-looking flowers that attract hummingbirds. Care: plant in a sandy soil with added compost. Hardy to zone 7.
7. Sedum (and other succulents)
Succulents are having a moment and good news — there are many varieties. From upright for flower beds to creeping for ground cover, sedums and succulents are an excellent choice for gardens that have a lot of rocks because they grow between the cracks. Some sedums bloom flowers, such as Sedum Telephium (the Purple Emperor), which has thick succulent leaves and clusters of pink flowers. Care: you can propagate new plants by rooting leaves. Gently break one off, let the cut surface callus over for a day or two then plant this tip in a small pot. Keep soil moist but not too wet. Hardy to zone 3.
8. Russian Sage
This perennial is deer resistant and comes in tall and short varieties (the short blooms small purple-blue flowers). But please don’t confuse with edible varieties of sage — this one can’t be eaten or cooked! Care: will be stronger if not fertilized. In spring, cut the old stems down to just above the new growth. Hardy to zone 3.
9. False Indigo
This native wild flower produces pretty, delicate foliage that is deer resistant. It comes in several colours. Care: False Indigo can grow quite large so give it lots of space when you plant. Hardy to zone 4.
10. Spring flowering bulbs
Spring flowering bulbs like tulips, daffodils and hyacinths need moisture in the spring when there is usually more rain but in the summer they go dormant and actually prefer to be kept on the dry side. Care: plant tulips in the fall to get them next spring.