What are the best trees, shrubs, and perennials?
Not the ones at the high volume sellers or big box stores. You know the ones I mean. These sellers bring mass produced plants in from British Columbia and Ontario. It does not mean they are poor quality, they can be planted and grown in those provinces perfectly fine. However, they are not “hardened off” to our harsh Alberta climate (the Chinooks do a lot of damage). If you really work at it they stand a 50% chance of surviving the first winter.
Find a seller than buys plants from nurseries in Alberta. They will only supply plants that grow well in our climate. It takes all the guess work out of it. I do not know everything about botany; I rely on the experts at reputable garden centres.
Remember: You do not have to spend more if you plant at the end of summer or in the fall when all the garden centres offer 50 to 75% off.