5 Outdoor Plants You Can’t Kill

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Anne Horn

Subject: 5 Outdoor Plants You Can't Kill

At a time when our bees, butterflies, and birds are declining rapidly in number, I was disappointed to see only one native North American plant on this list. I have learned that having evolved together, our native plants feed the creatures we share our yards with the best. With human development and our penchant for planting foreign plants, these creatures can't find enough to eat. To counteract the loss of habitat, my approach to my yard is to plant native plants that provide pollen and nectar for bees and butterflies, serve as larval host plants, and/or provide seeds and berries for the birds. Not having much of a green thumb, I go for native plants that are easy to grow such as Wild Columbine, the beautiful Wild Bergamot (Wild Beebalm), Sand Coreopsis, Tall Tickseed, Purple Coneflower, and Black-Eyed Susan. I also love the native groundcover, Wild Strawberry which has edible fruit. If you are inexperienced in this area, please consider contacting a native plant grower or native plant club for advice. I joined Wild Ones several years ago and they have been incredibly helpful to me. For the sake of our pollinatiors and birds, please do consider plants that are functional in your landscape as well as pretty and easy to grow. Thank you!


Subject: Five Plants you Can't Kill

This is a great list, for people who live in Zone 7 or 8, or colder. I can't grow geraniums as a perennial, poppies don't do too well, and neither jonquils nor daffodils (or Narcissus, for that matter) return the second year. Some Southern perennials are Azalea, Camellia, most jasmines, gardenia, gladiolus, most lilies, agapanthus, bouganviellea, most daylilies, coral vines, rosemary, and many more.

When you live in Zone 9, you learn really quickly to check the zone requirement before you fall in love with a plant.

Harriet Porton

Subject: Hanging baskets

In my new home, I have two hooks for hanging baskets on the patio. They will not get a lot of direct sunshine. Without wanting to be, I am a serial plant killer. I need hardy, colorful flowers that do well in the shade. Please help.

Robert C

Subject: There is nothing for a

There is nothing for a hanging basket in shade that is as spectacular as annual impatiens. Just remember to keep them watered and sprinkle some slow release plant food in the baskets at planting time, and you'll be rewarded with blooms all summer. Just don't let them dry out - this may mean a little water every day in the warmest weather.


Subject: Foolproof plants

For anything from shade to about 30% sun nothing outshines impatiens. If they get sun they need water every day.

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I second the original question (still unanswered). Speaking as someone who logged in today to try to find an attorney, I see this category as one that's exactly what I have my Angie's List membership for:

1. It's important that I find a good one
2. I'm not an expert enough to know myself who is a good one
3. The industry is full of advertisements and misinformation
4. I wish I knew what experiences other people have had

I don't care about lawns--I planted mine in clover and don't have to mow it. When I do need to mow I use a rotary Fiskars mower, which is great--or a scythe. That's right--a scythe (the European type, which is smaller, and it's very good exercise). Gas-powered mowers, chemical fertilizers and weed killers--all nasty stuff that gets into everyone's air, soil, and water. I'm sure my neighbor doesn't like my wildflowers, semi-wild pockets of fruit bushes, and unmown areas and yes, dandelions (I have 10 acres) but that's too bad. It's better habitat for wildlife, especially the pollinators on which our food supply depends. I think this obsession with the Great American Lawn is a waste of time and resources. Plant some food instead.

I'm not sure Angie et. al. want you to have a complete answer to this question. By re-subscribing at the Indiana State Fair in 2012, I think I paid $20.00 per year for a multi- year subscription. Maybe even less. At the other extreme--and I hope my memory isn't faulty about this--I think the price, for my area, for ONE year was an outrageous $70.00. And they debited me automatically without warning. I had to opt out of that automatic charge. I like Angie's List, but if some of the companies they monitor behaved the way they do in this respect, they'd be on some sort of Pages of Unhappiness. I'll be interested to see if this comment gets published or censored out of existence.

That's very difficult to answer without seeing the house. As one poster said, the prep is the most important part. On newer homes that don't have a lot of peeling paint, the prep can be very minimal even as low as a couple or a few hundred dollars for the prep labor.

On a 100 year old home with 12 coats of peeling paint on it, then the prep costs can be very high and can easily exceed 50% of the job's labor cost.

A 2100 sq ft two story home could easily cost $1000 just for the labor to prep for the paint job. That number could climb too. Throw in lots of caullking  or window glazing, and you could be talking a couple or a few hundred dollars more for labor.

Painting that home with one coat of paint and a different color on the trim could run roughly $1000 or more just for labor. Add a second coat  and that could cost close to another $1000 for labor.

For paint, you may need 20 gallons of paint. You can pay from $30-$70 for a gallon of good quality exterior paint. The manufacturer of the paint should be specified in any painting contract. Otherwise, the contractor could bid at a Sherwin-Williams $60 per gallon paint and then paint the house with $35 Valspar and pocket the difference. $25 dollars per gallon times 20 gallons? That's a pretty penny too.

That was the long answer to your question. The short answer is $2000 to $4000 and up, depending upon the amount of prep, the number of coats, the amount of trim, and the paint used.