When I first came to the mid-west the sand that passed as soil astounded me. In N.Z. I had been used to fertile soil that grew wonderful vegetables and flowers, if one planted plants that like a cooler climate.
My first foray into making a flower garden here was an abject failure. Plants purchased failed during the long hot dry summer. We obtain our water from a bore, admittedly it has good water, but needs to be pumped [by electricity] to a holding tank. Watering flowers seemed an expensive waste of water.
The following year I purchased more plants; another failure. When 'moaning' about my lack of gardening abilities in the local newsagents I was surprised to hear that this was a common complaint. The only way was to plant flowers that needed little water and could withstand weeks of temperatures in the high 30's to low 40's. Lesson learned!
Next year I purchased a packet of nasturtium seed; planted a couple of the old fashioned geranium that grows anywhere, and was the lucky recipient of a rosemary bush and an agave. These form the backbone of my 'garden' such as it is. Vegetables are cheaper bought at the supermarket.
Each year in winter I plant a few seedlings ... petunias, pansies that sometimes do well and sometimes do not, stock that invariably is a single stock despite the punnet assuring they are doubles.
The nasturtiums from that initial planting seed year after year and make a colourful display; needing no attention and thriving with the occasional rain storm.
I love their brightness, their adaptability, and the ability to grow year after year.