All-Summer Garden Color
As summer’s heat rolls in, customers often ask me in a determined state of mind “Do you have a perennial that blooms all summer?”
I understand this question, as summer after all is a time for relaxing and enjoying the finest weather while it lasts, it is a time of year we envision the garden that blooms it’s head off while we sip lemonade in the shade.
How nice would it be if the Peonies kept blooming instead of exiting in June? What about those Iris and the fleeting spring bulbs? What can possibly take their place? Take heart gardeners, now is the time to enjoy the long summer bloomers right off the great American Midwestern prairie lands. Along comes the coneflower tribe, with Purple Coneflower and the Black Eyed Susan taking their cue from the long solstice centered days. These will perform magnificently in the hot summer days all the way until school bells ring again.
One of their lesser known prairie partners is the bright
gold Heliopsis or “Early Sunflower.” Heliopsis is a long bloomer, the queen of all long blooming perennials, beginning in June and offering inexhaustible posture and an excellent mimic of sunflowers. The cheerful gold petals (rays) compliment any blue, purple or deep pink neighbors.
For added drama, try mixing in Gaura to this plentiful prairie garden. Gaura is another native that hummingbird watchers will appreciate. Wands of stems have tiny flowers that float above the plant like miniature whirling butterflies. The name “whirling butterflies” is another name that Gaura richly deserves. Just as you think the Gaura is done for the season, wait until you see the red fall coloring streaking up the stem and splashing the leaves!
While Gaura turns ruby red, the Calamint begins its journey from the embers of late summer to the frosts of November. Calamint is a frothy plant, tiny white opalescent flowers have pale suggestions of blue and pink, the whole effect is a balmy cloud against the autumn tapestry.
Wedel’s Nursery, Florist & Garden Center