My friend who is building a new garden in an old corn field asked me for a plant list. 

Good move.   Getting recommendations from other gardeners is a great way to start your own garden. 

But my friend lives several states away.  So my advice comes with a warning:  Take this list to a good LOCAL nursery and see what they have to say. 

Now the list:  

Start with viburnum  The family is LARGE with a lot  pleasing variety.  You could make a whole garden of viburnum and never get bored.  Some have fragrant blooms.  Others  have  wonderful berries and fall color.  Some are evergreen.   Grow lots and lots of them. I do.

When it comes to small trees, I vote for the prunus family.  My all time favorite flowering tree  is prunus autumnalis which blooms twice in my garden.  But any strong  flowering cherry tree is a joy.   

Ask the nursery about shrubs that have winter color and interest in your area.   This is easy in the South, but my camellias, azaleas and Pittosporum won’t live in your colder climate and full sun.  Ask them which evergreens would look good in your mixed shrub border. 

Knockout roses can’t be beat.  They bloom all season and are trouble-free.

Once your shrubs are in place, you can add some perennials.  Try Rudbeckia, coneflower and daylily.  I’m terribly smitten with Iris like the Japanese variety above.  Like viburnum, Iris is a big family.  Don’t assume they all look like the bearded Iris your grandmother grew. 

Finally, rake in some annual seeds.  A couple  packs of zinnias, cosmos and marigolds are the quickest and cheapest way to fill a new garden.    And you’ll have plenty of flowers  to cut for the house. 

Did I leave anything out?  What plants do you recommend for new garden?  Share your thoughts and I’ll pass them along.