You can't imagine how excited I was when shoveling my pathway that leads from the back of my house all the way to the front. There is a raised bed (about twenty-feet long) and on the other side a narrow strip about two feet wide by twenty feet long. As I pushed the snow along and hoisted it a little at a time to deposit in the raised bed, my eye caught something green coming up in the opposite narrow strip.
I could not believe my eyes, the daffodils were up about four inches and muscari about two inches. They were green and looked unexpected with the mounds of snow all around. I threw a little snow on top of them because it almost looked like they had been born too soon!
Let me tell you about this strip, it has been an experiment for six years, and like a detective each year I try to solve the mystery. It is certainly a zone 6 or above (it is flush with the house), and I think I could grow tropicals here - ha! ha! My May Night Salvia does great in this area, but it blooms one month before the May Night in the front of my house. The daylilies displayed burnt foliage, but the clematis and campanula were fine, Veronica not doing well either - burned leaves. I even have a drip system under this area and also spend each day watering by hose. Year after year I would plant some of the heat tolerant annuals like zinnias and marigolds, but I really wanted perennials in this area.
Last fall I pulled out my daylilies, left the Veronica and began to leaf through the High Country Gardens Catalog. I ordered and planted "Blue Lips" Penstemon, Dianthus "Firewitch" and "Arizona Sun" Gaillardia. They took to that area like they were home at last, growing by leaps and bounds before the fall frost set in. I don't know what the result is yet but I have positive vibes. Could this be a Xeric area in zone 5? Xeric plants thrive in hot, dry areas requiring only minimal amounts of water. A great book to read is Lauren Springer's The Undaunted Garden. It is a little heavy on text but contains lots of important information on water wise plantings.
We probably all know the answer to this, and I know I have learned that as much as I tried, the plants I chose would not fit the area. http://www.highcountrygardens.com/ Check out their catalog, the plants listed are adaptable to many areas in your garden.