Itoh Peony (Paeonia ‘Keiko’) Zones 4–9
Itoh peonies, which are crosses between herbaceous peonies and tree peonies, grow well over a wide range of climates and feature stunning foliage, giant blooms and a bounty of available colors. “I have come to be an enormous fan of them,” says Nicholas Staddon, the director of new plants for plant breeder Monrovia. “The flowers are to die for. People think they’re hard to grow, but it’s absolutely not the case — peonies outlive most of us. When you’re pushing up daisies, your peonies will still be pushing up blooms.” All they need is a good organic mulch and you’re off to the races.
Sunflowers are colorful giants and are one of the first flowers many children will recognize. A sunflower-growing competition appeals to any age of gardener.