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These Hardy Perennials are the Toughest on the Block

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Perennials are showy additions in the garden that work hard for you year after year to decorate the landscape. While some require special care and a tender touch to succeed in the garden, there are a bunch of hardy perennials that are tough as nails. These are great for low-maintenance gardens as they will continue to bloom, year after year, with little care.

33 perennials that work well in cool climates

Why Hardy Perennials?

I often go by my old house to see how the is doing. I have watched it over the past several years continue to bloom and grow and look lovely, despite the lack of interest the new owners have in gardening. It was so hard to leave the garden behind, but what I left was a number of hardy perennials that needed little care. bright red echinacea flowers

I figured the new gardeners would get two or three years of relatively maintenance-free flowers in the garden before it needed some care. And, boy, was I ever right! They didn?t water the garden, cut back, divide, or care for any of the plants and yet it STILL continued to thrive.

lady's mantle is a hardy perennial that thrives in shade

It has now been many years of neglect, and the garden bursts with blooms from mass plantings that keep on truckin? year after year after year. I visit a few times a year and, while I?m sad to see this gorgeous and healing space is left untended, I?m proud of my plants and my design.

It?s low-maintenance and drought tolerant and a haven for pollinators and beneficial insects. I see plenty of growth and a messy appearance, but no signs of disease or stress. Perennials are the hardest working decorative plants out there. Plus, they add so much personality to your garden.

flowering perennials in the home garden

In the right conditions, perennials will deliver a low-maintenance landscape in sun or shade. So when I get asked about how to create a low maintenance garden, I share this list.

For more details on each of the plants, I have created a set of articles that outlines my favorite and my favorites Head over to those two for more details about each of the plants and leave your favorite hardy perennials in the comments section.

Best Hardy Perennials for Sun

Read more about perennials for sun and my top five

  • Geranium (Cranesbill)
  • Hemerocallis (Daylily)
  • Coreopsis (Tickseed)
  • Iris sibirica (Siberian Iris)
  • Iris croatica (Bearded Iris)
  • Rudbeckia hirta (Black-Eyed Susan)
  • Sedum (Stonecrop)
  • Nepeta (Catmint)
  • Anemone hupehensis (Japanese Anemone / Windflower)
  • Salvia
  • Lilium auratum (Asiatic Lily)
  • Dianthus (Sweet William)
  • Achillea millefolium (Yarrow)
  • Leucanthemum ? superbum (Shasta Daisy)
  • Euphorbia (Spurge)

rudbeckia in bloom

Plants I Did Not Include on this List and Why:

Phlox ? It is beautiful, fragrant, and easy to grow and many would argue it is very hardy, but its predisposition to powdery mildew bumped it off my list.

? a garden beauty queen and exceptional cut flower, but this stunner needs staking or caging and it leaves a mess of petals all over the place when it?s done blooming, making it too much of a diva for this list. This isn?t to say I don?t love the peony, because I do! They just require a bit more care. Here?s .

? this is an easy-to-grow perennial vine with showy flowers that come back stronger and better every year. But some varieties require annual pruning down to the ground and others don?t. The task of remembering to have to prune it gets the clematis set aside from this list.

Best Hardy Perennials for Shade

Get more details on growing perennials in a shady garden and my favorite picks

  • Geranium macrorrhizum (Big Root Geranium)
  • Epimedium (Barrenwort)
  • Alchemilla (Lady?s Mantle)
  • Lamprocapnos spectabilis (Bleeding Heart)
  • Tracheophyta (Ferns)
  • Pulmonaria (Lungwort)
  • Sanguinaria canadensis (Bloodroot)
  • Corydalis lutea (Yellow Corydalis)
  • Astilbe
  • Hakonechloa macra (Japanese Forestgrass)
  • Asarum canadense (Wild Ginger)
  • Liriope (Lilyturf)
  • Ajuga (Bugle)
  • Tiarella cordifolia (Foamflower)

astilbe and Japanese forestgrass

Plants I Did Not Include on this List and Why:

There is a fine line between hardy and invasive. For example, plants that are strong growers and tolerant of poor soil and varying conditions can also be hard to control. For that reason, I didn?t include plants like Lamium on this list despite their ornamental value and hardiness.

But, you say, ?you included, Ajuga, Wild Ginger, and Lady?s Mantle!? For me, controlling Lamium is more difficult than it is worth, but with the others, I have no trouble ripping up a handful here and there to remove the excess. It?s truly up to your own personal preference as to how much spreading and clearing you are willing to tolerate.

What are your favorite perennials to grow in the home garden? Leave a comment and let us know. We love learning how your garden grows!

golden hosta


More Perennials to Love!



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We?re gardeners. We don?t need a patch of earth to grow our own food. No siree. We can grow our food on our windowsill. In a plastic salad box. In a mason jar. Heck, we can even grow food FROM food. Yep. Gardeners can do all of that!12 Edible Gardening Hacks - Creative Gardeners share how they grow food indoors in unique ways!


I do my fair share of  in the winter months to ensure that I?m full of freshly snipped healthy greens year round. You can ?Sprouting Mung Beans and Green Peas in Mason Jar

?use a recycled plastic salad box to ?Sunflower Sprouts DAY 7 from How to Grow Sunflower Microgreens

?or .

Sprouting seeds: spelt berries, sunflower seeds, and alfalfa / radish / red clover mix

Herbs & More

Herbs are probably the easiest to grow indoors. Those that we eat for leaves need the least light and indoor light is just never the same as the outdoor sun. Plus, herbs pack a punch so you can snip a little for a lot of flavor.

Try growing them in a ! This very cool system uses plastic bottles and drip lines to grow plants without soil right in your window. This would be the perfect system for a foodie or chef, but I think it looks pretty cool as well.

Salad lovers rejoice ? you can grow greens indoors all year with this !

Are you are a little more crafty? Then you could make a  for your kitchen wall. This project comes to us from the book .

Woodland Herb Garden DIY Project from Mason Jar Crafts

If you want some great advice on , Lynne from shares her tips.

Melissa, the , shows you how to . Peas! Who would have thought? I can almost taste that pea, it looks so fresh!How to Grow Peas Indoors

Growing food from um, food.

Shelley at has regrown some common (celery, avocado) and uncommon (lemongrass, taro root) .From Groceries to Garden

shows us that is a fun DIY gardening project for the kids and also gives great detail on .

You can even use the parts that you cut to grow a new plant as you can see in .How to Propagate Basil from Cuttings

Did you know you can from the top? It will take you a looooooong time and it may be tiny, but it CAN be done. For me, this project is best left for a more patient gardener. But it certainly makes a nice houseplant in the meantime.

Thanks to all of the gardeners out there who are creative enough to find new ways to make food grow indoors, and for all the rest you do. Who else grows indoor edibles in a unique way? Please share!

12 Edible Gardening Hacks - Creative Gardeners share how they grow food indoors in unique ways!

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Welcome to the 2015 wrap up post where I?ll share the Best of Garden Therapy from this year. I have a few personal notes to share, as well as look back on the year including 25 Wildly Popular Garden & Craft Projects that were published.Garden Therapy's Best of 2015 Gardening and Crafts Projects

Another year is about to close and I couldn?t be more grateful. 2015 was the year that I became well enough to start working full time. In March of this year I transitioned into a full-time career as a writer, spending my days with gardening and crafts and healthy recipes and natural beauty. Seriously. It?s a job. The best job I could ever imagine. And after nine years of recovery from debilitating illness, I feel like I?m living a dream.Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you've imagined

Until I started living my dreams, I couldn?t imagine that one day I would be a published author. Today I?m thrilled to see that my book, , is available in bookstores everywhere. I wrote the book as a way to showcase some of the creative Garden Made projects that got me outside, digging in the dirt, and changing my life (you can read more about my personal journey ). I hope it becomes a book that inspires others out there to try a project or two and feel the benefits of garden therapy on their body and spirit. If you would like to preview a copy, head over here and take a look!


Here on the website that started it all, Garden Therapy has sprouted from a blog to a community of crafty, healthy-living folks who are eager to get a little, well, garden therapy. This year I started writing a more personal newsletter () and sending it out weekly through which I have gotten to know you all so much better! Many of you have also joined in on conversation on . I have received notes and feedback letting me know what you like (and what you don?t) and I?ve taken it all back to Garden Therapy: growing, changing, blooming.

Throughout the year, I have made A LOT of things (and of course written about / photographed them) for Garden Therapy: 130 new projects since January. Not only that, but I have also been joined by a who have contributed an additional 49 articles.

Of those 179 gardening and craft projects that have been posted this year, there were some that you REALLY loved. Here are the 25 posts that were the most popular in 2015. Please note: this list only covers the most popular posts that were published from January -December 2015. You can see and a gallery of our .

25 of the most popular Garden and Craft projects from the popular blog Garden Therapy

























and the #1 most popular post of 2015?

1.  (apparently Garden Therapy readers love their feet!)

Honorable mention:

This project was published on December 12th and it is already the 26th most popular post of the year! 

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