Lots of sun...little water…no problem!

Gardeners in Oceana County fortunate enough to have full sun and little irrigation should select perennials matched for those conditions. The plants listed below are those that I have personally grown in my garden on Ridge Road in Pentwater and proven to be worthy choices for their hardiness, long flowering cycles, and dependability. I didn’t have full sun but had 4-5 hours a day and these plants still did very well. In addition, I will note those flowers that deer do not eat (in my experience).

Butterfly weed, with its clusters of orange flowers, is a species of milkweed or butterfly milkweed that attracts butterflies to its nectar and pollen. Butterfly weed is native to Michigan and grows 2-3 feet tall during most of the summer. It multiplied slowly and by the third year in my garden, seemed well established. (Deer never ate this in my garden.)

Ornamental onions bloom in midsummer with globes of compact rose-pink flowers growing in height to 15 inches tall. Its leaves are glossy and attractive. The blooms lasted about three weeks in my garden. I liked the way they looked even after blooming. (Deer never ate this in my garden.)

Purple coneflowers have an extended bloom time of about four weeks starting in midsummer. They attract butterflies and grow 24-36 inches in height. (Deer rarely ate this.)

Lavender is a great bloomer lasting about two to three weeks. It grows about two feet in height. Lavender likes really hot, dry soil and sun. It needs pruning in the spring, and if it becomes woody, cut back by half its height. I didn’t find them to be fast growing or spreading. (Deer never ate this.)

Russian sage has blue/purple flowers that grow 32-36 inches high. They bloom continually from mid-summer to late fall. I found that trimming the foliage in the spring led to more compact and strong stems. (Deer never ate this.)

Black Eyed Susans have yellow flowers that bloom from August to September and grow 1-2 feet tall. They pair well with Russian Sage. Beware of it’s invasive spread as it will take over a garden! At the same time, it’s masses of color will be beautiful and long lasting. (Deer sometimes ate this.)

Catmint varieties all grow swaths of blue/purple flowers lasting most of the growing season. One flower can grow to be three feet in width and depending on the variety, 12-20 inches in height. After the first bloom in late June, they will fade and need trimming to encourage new growth and vibrant color. Pull a handful of stems like a ponytail and cut by 1/3 to ½. In about two to three weeks, you’ll have fresh vibrant blooms again. (Deer never ate this.)