Going into a nursery can feel overwhelming. At least it has been for me! With literally hundreds of plants to choose from that thrive and bloom in vastly differing conditions, trying to choose a few is like going into a Toys ‘R’ Us at x-mas time in order to find the best gifts for your kids.
The trick, then, is to narrow down the possible choices to a handful by defining specific criteria. For the case of landscaping my yard in Fort Collins, Colorado, I wanted plants that were:
- Drought-resistant, due to the low levels of precipitation (~14″) we receive each year. Suitable for xeriscaping.
- Hardy – can survive cold and hot temperatures year after year.
- Able to thrive in our soils, which are alkaline and typically contain a lot of clay.
Fortunately, my Homeowners Association was able to provide me with a list of suggested perennials, shrubs, and ground covers which met those requirements. Using that list and consulting a few books from the library along with the good ol’ Internet, I created a table summarizing their characteristics including bloom periods, light requirements, typical maximum heights, etc., along with photos.
The table of recommended plants is here (Microsoft Word, 1.4 MB). Hopefully, by posting it here, it saves other Fort Collinsers some time from having to do agonizing research.
Happy growing, y’all.