I've tried my best to whittle my annuals down to the bare minimum and I have done that by planting perennials that come back every year without fail. This list consist of hostas, irises, daylilies, coneflowers, rose bushes grown on own roots, phlox, bee balm or Monarda, and sedum.
Believe me when I say...over the years I've wasted a lot of money on plants that just were not right for my plant zone or were not right for my soil or light conditions. Here in Michigan we can have pretty much any kind of weather. We can have a very very cold winter like we did this past winter or we can have a winter with no snow and 80 degrees in March like we had two winters ago. Both were harsh in their own ways. We can have humid summers or dry summers with low humidity. Unless you want to replant every year you will need to plant those plants that can handle it all.....both the good and the bad weather.
Irises are great because they can handle the cold and the hot. The only thing that will really kill them is for the rhizome to sit in damp wet soil. If you plant them in soil that drains well, you'll be good to go in the iris department.
The colors of irises is really unlimited. I have black, white, numerous varieties of purple and blue, gold, bronze, yellow, pink, and peach. Once the flowers are spent I cut the flower stalk off. This leaves me with spiky spade like leaves to contrast against my sedum or my cone flowers.
Irises multiple easily and once they are too crowded their flowering slows down. This gives you a chance to expand your flower bed or give them away to friends. I've received some wonderful irises from friends that I cherish every time I look at them.
My irises are just starting to flower and whats great is that they are flowering at different times so that my iris blooming time runs about 4-5 weeks.
Two tone purple iris.
Today in between looking at our irises, we continued to cut back our rose bushes. We are about halfway done. I cannot stress how unpleasant of a job it is turning out to be. Normally, we would have roses in bloom right now but because they are regrowing from the base, I really do not expect roses until the beginning of July.
We also planted our tomato plants the other day and they are doing good and tonight's rain is perfect timing.