Garden Doctor: Flowers & Plants

What are easy-to-grow flowers?

We've just bought a new home, and I'm just starting out in gardening -- my only experience so far was following my grandfather around his rose garden when I was a little girl. Do you have any suggestions on what are the easiest flowers to grow?


You're smart to want to work your way up and not start right in with the roses your grandfather grew. He probably had beautiful roses. And he probably fussed over them a lot -- pruning, watering, fertilizing, spraying, and babying them through the winter. There are easier ways to go.

Annual: Mexican Sunflower

Start a new bed with a few annuals. Marigolds are among the easiest annuals to grow from seed. Marigold seeds can be started early in pots indoors, but do nearly as well planted directly in the ground on or just before the last frost date in your area. Other good annuals to grow from seed are sunflowers, which will add quick height and sunny color, and nasturtiums, which can add sprawly color to the edge of a bed. Easy annuals that are best grown from bedding plants: geraniums, petunias, moss roses, and salvia. You can buy these as bedding plants just about anywhere these days -- supermarkets, discount stores, drug stores, and even garden centers.

If you're adventurous enough to tackle perennials right away, take a chance on daylilies. Start with large, container-grown plants to get them off to a quick start. Bare-root plants will take a lot more time to bloom. Daylilies are satisfying because they are easy and colorful. Of course, if you want roses, you would be better off planting some of the new varieties of "landscape roses." Roses such as Flower Carpet produce quantities of colorful flowers without a lot of effort.

Continued on page 2:  Best way to water?