I often cheer people on and tell them to dream big. This works well in many instances, but not when you have a difficult planting area. I have a planting box on my north facing balcony. It gets too much sun in the summer, and no sun in the winter. I've tried many plants there and they all died or looked like I was purposely torturing them, "Damn you plant. Suffer, suffer!"
So I decided to follow advice I once heard on Strangers With Candy from Dr. Iris Puffybush, "Dreams are a great thing. But they take a lot of energy. But that's okay, there's a job waiting for you down the block that doesn't require a thought in your head, or hope in your heart. So come on down and work at the artificial flower factory. Why fight it?"
I went to Michaels and bought every artificial geranium in the store. This was brave, as the store was filled with zombie like people with tiny shopping carts mindlessly staring at glue options. I cut up some florists styrofoam and inserted my new flowers. Now I have a perfect planting box. In fact, I overheard a neighbor say, "Oh, look, that's so pretty. They're so healthy." And wonderfully, they'll be just as healthy six months from now.