Perennial plants/shrubs are best in New England for west facing homes?

My houses faces west. It gets an exuberant amount of sun and many plants just don't seem to be able to handle it. I would like something that flowers and isn't too woody looking, but will tolerate the suns' baking.
  4 answers
  • Douglas Hunt Douglas Hunt on Jul 28, 2014
    Many perennials are happy with an exuberant amount of sun as long as they get enough water. Among the first that I would think of would be gaillardia, coreopsis, dianthus, asters, daylilies, phlox, goldenrod and sedums. Roses love full sun. If you look at this list of drought-tolerant plants from the University of New Hampshire, most of them will be happy with as much sun as you can give them:

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    • Douglas Hunt Douglas Hunt on Jul 30, 2014
      @Molly Most clematis would be perennial in zone 5, and many would consider them to the be the "king of climbers." Many perennial geraniums are low enough to be considered ground covers, or, if you want something even lower to ground, flowering thyme is one possibility.

  • Dorothy Dorothy on Jul 28, 2014
    How big do you want them to get? You can find winter hardy (even in very cold areas) plants that are all the way from little alpine types to BIG shrubs. Colors? Time of bloom preferred? Scented? Lots of plants to choose from but more info would be helpful.

    • Molly Molly on Jul 29, 2014
      @Dorothy, I didn't even think about size. Silly me. I would like a few different sizes--5 feet high, 3 feet wide and something smaller--18 to 24 inches tall. I would like to keep color in my yard from spring through winter. Not impossible, I know, but challenging when I am not familiar with the best plants. I would love to attract butterflies and bees to some of them too! Ground cover suggestions would be nice too, if you know of some.

  • Dorothy Dorothy on Jul 29, 2014
    Depending on your soil type (have it checked at the agricultural extension service in your county) things like azaleas could do well and come in all kinds of colors and sizes....from white to deep red with some blooming earlier than others. Things like butterfly bush, coryopteris, wigelia, barberry, viburnums (tons of varieties), Russian sage etc are fairly low maintenance, colorful, cold tolerant and some are positively xeric in their water needs. One of my favorite combos is Russian sage, Shasta daisies and a really deep rusty red day lily. Rudbeckia, ornamental mums, asters are others also with lots of color later in summer/into fall. Echinacea is now available in both standard and dwarf sizes and a lot of different colors from the original pinky mauve....all the way to "tomato soup" and some rich oranges. I like to use white to highlight colors. Among blues are the lavenders, butterfly bushes, scabiosa, asters, possibly hydrangea, clematis (white, pink, purples). Even though you are in the east getting a copy of Sunset's Western Garden book can still give you a ton of info on plants from ground covers to trees...match your zones and you should be able to grow most of what is in there for the corresponding climate.

  • Dorothy Dorothy on Jul 29, 2014
    You can start the spring with bulbs grape hyacinths and scilla and snowdrops.....along with the usual daffodils, tulips and hyacinths. Summer bulbs could include various lilies.....oriental, Asiatic, native....they just get better and better. Also alliums (ornamental onions) from white through pink to deep mauve to purples and short to tall....lots of fun and most of these will naturalize. I like to add some food plants in among my flowers.....asparagus makes lovely ferny growth, dill and fennel are great, rhubarb makes BIG leaves, Swiss chard (the varieties with the colorful stems), spinach, lettuces (for early season color), parsley, carrots left in the ground will bloom with pretty umbrel of flowers.