Non-gardener here, looking for hardy, low-maintenance plants
I have never had much interest in gardening, but I've been in this house for 3 1/2 years and I'm starting to think the front yard looks pretty bare. There's space for a garden but I've never done anything with it. I'm thinking I'll finally plant something for next spring. Answers to any or all of these questions would be much appreciated.
What plants would do well in zone 3?
Which of these are fairly low maintenance?
I'm interested in ferns (I've seen them around here), and they seem pretty easy. What types do you recommend, or would any of them work?
When should I plant the things you've recommended?
Any other suggestions or tips?
Need more info on your location besides zone - I would select natives for your area, those would vary depending on where precisely you live. Check for a native plant society. Natives are adapted for your region and won't require more water than normally falls from teh sky once established, they also feed local animals/bugs and attract pollinators native to your area.
For decorative, I tend to stick with perennials in general so that I have less work to do the next year. A mix of low flowering woody plants and die back perennials like Echinicea (purple coneflower). Like I said, depends on your more precise region - the best low maintenance plants are usually the ones that have evolved to grow there.
Ferns really depend on your region as well for maintenance - I haven't tried them in the ground, only pots, but I've never lived in the right spot for 'em>
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I'm not sure what other info would you need about the area (didn't realize more than zone mattered, sorry!) I live in Winnipeg, Manitoba if that helps.
jumpingRabbit is right to say that you should consider native plants. I don't know whether any are native to Manitoba or not, but hostas are easy, shade-loving plants in many different varieties.
I agree about hostas. They seem to thrive almost any zone, and every year, you can divide them, then replant the offshoots without spending more money. They are actually good shade plants too. Monkey grass (probably not it's really name) is a lot like hosta, self-propagating, shade tolerant and it flowers once established.