A lot of times I get asked, “What’s your favorite flower?” My response is usually something like “whatever is blooming.”
However, on this day if I had to pick only one hard working:
Perennial for sun, it would be ‘Caradonna,’ a long blooming salvia with spikes of dark blue flowers and purple stems. ‘Caradonna’ (Salvia nemorosa) is a clump grower that gets about 18 inches tall and 12 inches wide. If it gets lanky, cut it back and it will rebloom the rest of summer. It is drought tolerant.
Perennial for shade, it would be fairy flower or barrenwort (Epimedium). A four-season plant, epimedium blooms in early spring with yellow, red, pink or white flowers. The green, heart-shaped leaves turn purple in fall and winter. This clump growing plant does exceptionally well in dry shade.
Annual for sun, it would be any Angelonia, including Angelface Blue. Orchid like flowers bloom all summer along tall stems, making this ideal as a centerpiece in containers or as the backdrop in a window box. It gets about 18 inches tall. Angelonia can take the heat and sun and they are drought tolerant.
Annual for shade, it would be Impatiens. This long blooming annual comes in lots of colors, which brighten the shady spots in the landscape in the ground or in pots.
Spring bulb, it would be daffodils (Narcissus) because they are reliable year after year. Many of them are fragrant and they bloom in early, mid or late spring, depending on the cultivar. Gardeners with shady landscapes can plant early blooming daffodils. All daffodils are poisonous and shunned by deer and other wildlife.
Ask me this tomorrow, though, and a different list of plants might appear. Regardless, these plants are definite winners in the Indiana landscape.