Decorative garden low maintenance choices

I possessed a piece of my neighbor land she completely neglected and where all sort of weeds were growing and seeding all over my garden. I offered her to make flower garden there knowing she loves flowers(looking at them from the window) That was few years ago and at that time i planted what I had - irises, lilac, lilies and hostas. Over years things got unruly, so this year I freed central part of the flower bed from overgrowing staff and looking for some choices. Ideally I want it to be a plant or two, that is not going to spread and that doesn’t leave mess after it dies for winter like irises and doesn’t grow tall like lilac and something that has color most time of the summer. It is partially shaded area, meaning it sunny most time of the day and shady some time. Any suggestions? I was thinking knockout roses, but I don’t want to really deal with thorns. Are there hardy thorn-less roses that bloom all summer long?

1 Like

Sounds like more hostas

1 Like

Hi Galinas, I would encourage you to think about roses. My wife grows a few of the Morden Blush type, and they bloom generously and repeatedly all summer long. They’re part of the Parkland series:

I don’t recall the thorns being much of an issue.

We also like peonies- big, showy blossoms and beautiful foliage as it bronzes. But they’re a bit more work to clean up after. They do spread, but slowly. Crocuses spread, but they’re a nice problem to have, and they are so welcome in the spring. Same with little bitty irises:

which don’t leave so much mess as the large ones.

I’m afraid all my suggestions are things you might be trying to avoid, but they do work for us without too much hassle. Maybe you’ll want to use just a sampling of them.

1 Like

I like native asters, coneflowers, and black eyed susans. All low maintenance plants just some clean up once a year, assuming at least 6 hours sun


Problem with those is difficulty to use mulch/woodchips - they do spread and to use mulch you have to cover the plants, and also eventually the area looks kind of messy. I do have irises, black eyed Susan, cornflower planted on the side of that area - on the rocky hill. But I really want clean and defined middle part of the area. I need to be able to walk throw it without making a path with my feet - it really doesn’t look good after. I designated a part of that land for my raspberries and highbush Highbush cranberry (Viburnum opulus), so I need it to be functional (for myself) and pretty (for my neighbor).

I will look at Canadian Roses. Do you protect them for winter? Are they prone to fungus issues? Crocuses, daffodils and scilla are on the list to be planted in fall. I do have one bush of peonies there, but it is done flowering by mid June and I need something bright to the end of the summer.

I just asked my wife about her experience with Morden Blush and she said she hasn’t had any fungal issues and she doesn’t mulch them carefully. But they are, in fact, quite thorny. She has a John Davis too, with not very many thorns at all. It’s a lovely shrub rose:

For the ground you might want to consider a variety of thymes- they are happy with neglect and thrive when walked on. @Lordkiwi had some nice photos on the site just recently:



Are they hardy?

Zone 8 for dahlias

1 Like

Mine is 5 b)

I really like catmint and ladys mantle for low maintenance areas. Catmint kind of glows purple when its cloudy or rainy, and the bees love it. Some varieties spread but walkers low variety does not. It is drought tolerant also and blooms early till frost.

Ladys mantle is more of a spring only perennial but still pretty and low maintenance and likes part shade.

1 Like

If you don’t mind digging them up every year, dajlia would be OK. Otherwise, it’s a pain. It won’t survive our zone in ground.

I did not see this thread before you stop by this morning. In the summer, I can show you what I have fully grown to give you some idea.

Roses, you still need to dead head them to get them producing new flush.

Of all the many flowers I grow over the year, Russian Sage and Lavender are the best. Low to no care. Bloom for a long period of time. Look good, with or without blooms, and smell good.

1 Like

I never thought of roses as low maintenance. I’ve had them at various times over the years but fungus, disease and insects always got the best of them.

1 Like

Agreed. In PNW, we get black spot and mildew on roses. That makes it a high maintenence flower here. Peonies, no issues. Plant and then add sturdy cage.

I was rose crazy 10 years ago before I found fruit trees.

I pointed out that even Knickout roses need work. I only keep 5-6 bushes now. They are rotals among flowers but they also royal pain if you don’t spray,

1 Like

The lowest maintenance flowers I have are sedums. Great plants!