• More daffodils than tulips, because they naturalize and come back in larger clumps year after year
• Catmint, especially Nepeta subsessilis and N. sibirica
• Peonies, including fernleaf (Paeonia tenuifolia)
• Perennial geraniums, such as showy geranium (Geranium x magnificum), a more vigorous form than the popular 'Johnson's Blue'. Brenda has abandoned the small-leafed varieties such as 'Ballerina' in favour of tougher bigroot geranium cultivars (G. macrorrhizum) because "they're so beautiful and you can't kill them!" She also likes Armenian cranesbill (G. psilostemon).
• Roses, especially Explorer cultivars, as well as 'The Fairy', 'Ballerina', 'Königin von Dänemark', 'Ferdinand Pichard', 'Fantin-Latour' and Rosa glauca.
• Speedwell (Veronica spp.)
• Coneflowers (Echinacea spp.)
• Bugbane, including Actaea simplex (syn. Cimicifuga simplex) 'Brunette' and Actaea matsumurae 'White Pearl'
• Joe Pye weed
• Sweet autumn clematis (Clematis terniflora)
Lorraine Flanigan is a freelance writer and editor with a passion for gardening. You can read her personal gardening journal at City Gardening.