Plant selection depends partly on what you are trying to do! Select a scenario below to see recommendations.
The lists are not exhaustive but will give you a place to begin! Once you have the right plants for your situation, you will need to narrow down based on light and water requirements.
I want plants that are:
Native plants that can compete with weeds need to be fast growing and readily able to reproduce. Many will seed their first year. There are annuals and biennials on this list, but don't let their short life spans deter you. The individuals might not last long but their populations will expand to fill bare ground. Keep in mind: these guys will spread! That's what they do! You have been warned.
Gardens often have a semblance of order (some more than others). Here are some species that play especially well in a garden setting. These plants are generally long-lived, don't produce volunteers, and stay where they are put, more or less with minimal intervention. Of course plants are notorious rule-breakers, so your mileage may vary! Also, if a plant is not on this list it can still behave, you might just need to pull volunteers or prune to keep it looking tidy.
We've all killed plants at one time or another, but some of us are just...better at killing plants than others. The ones listed here are tough. They thrive on neglect (once established, of course). Will they always have huge gorgeous flowers? No. In fact, some may even go dormant during the summer. But they are most likely to return year after year.
Every plant plays a role in feeding and sheltering wildlife, but here I picked some heavy-hitters. They have multiple functions for all levels of creatures, but the emphasis is on insects and birds. Here you'll find some fruiting shrubs and very early and late-season blooms.