A very nice combination is daylilies, which can be planted now, and
daffodils, which you would plant in-between them in the fall. The daylilies
are tough, don't need a lot of maintenance, and provide a splash of cheerful
color, and the foliage looks good all summer long. They will spread
somewhat and shade out weeds, although you should mulch them at first and
provide supplemental water if needed.
The daffodils will emerge and bloom first in the spring. You need to let
their foliage ripen and turn brown in order to insure blossoms the next
year, but the neat thing is that the daylily foliage, which is similar in
form and color, will come in at just the right time and help conceal the
Irises are wonderful flowers, and tall bearded irises are the most wonderful
of all, but growing them can be problematic. They are prone to borers,
which are tough to treat, the foliage looks ratty most of the summer, and
every few years they need to be dug and divided. I still have a bed of
them, because I love them despite their shortcomings, but you should know
what you're getting into. A better choice for the less dedicated gardener
is Siberian irises--the flowers are not as stupendous, but still quite
beautiful, and the foliage and habit is a lot easier to live with. You
could have clumps of them in with your daylilies and daffodils.
Tulips (also fall planted) are lovely, but are not as reliably perennial as
daffodils. (Some kinds, like the Darwin hybrids, are billed as more
perennial, but a lot depends your climate, your soil, and the whims of the
gods.) I plant them anyhow, am pleased if they return, and if they don't, I
figure they were still cheaper than cut flowers at the florist.
Zone 6, South-central PA
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