May and June have just flown by! We’ve made it through the crazy busy spring season and now we are into summer. To be honest, summer is one of my favorite seasons. I know a lot of people complain about the heat (I know, ‘It’s not the heat, it’s the humidity’). Even when it is hot as blazes, this is the time of year that I thrive. I do enjoy spring, especially when all the plants are waking up. But to me, spring is for getting all the prep work done so that we can enjoy the summer to the fullest. Spring is for watching to see if those plants you put in last fall made it through the winter. Spring is for planting annuals, and deciding where are you going to fit those 10 extra tomato plants you happened to buy. Summer is the time to enjoy those flowers and for making tomato sandwiches. Yes, there is still plenty of work to do in the summer. It is a great time to work on those landscaping projects that you didn’t have time to do last fall. It just seems as though we have more time to enjoy it during the summer.
If you were too busy to stop in for your annuals this spring, it’s not too late. Our summer annuals are looking great.
My favorites are the dahlias, but the marigolds and sunpatiens also look fantastic.
The perennials have been going like gangbusters inside the greenhouse. We have flowers everywhere! And where there are flowers, odds are that there will be butterflys, bees and birds!
The daylilys have started to pop in the last week or so.
While many perennials may only bloom for a few weeks at a time, if you plan your garden right and use annuals and longer blooming perennials as well you can have continuous bloom from spring throughout fall.
A few of the classic long-blooming perennials are echinacea, nepeta, black-eyed susan, and sedum. Many of these used to be only available in the original large versions and people with smaller gardens would have to pick one or go without. Now there are compact forms of almost every large perennial you can think of.
Walker’s Low nepeta is one of those long blooming but wild looking plants you see in many commercial plantings. It is a great plant for the right sunny spot. Very hardy, blooms like crazy and the bees love it. But it can get quite large and tends to flop over so it’s not the tidiest looking plant. Instead you could plant Purrsian Blue or Kitten Around and get the same flower power with a nice compact habit.
I have Purrsian Blue at home and I really like it. It has a nice mounding habit and it doesn’t get as wild looking as Walker’s Low. I trim it back after the majority of the flowers are spent and it will generally start to rebloom in about 2 weeks.
Another classic, long blooming perennial is echinacea or purple coneflower. The tall varieties are beautiful but not every garden has room for a 3-4′ tall plant. They have been breeding more compact varieties for awhile now and my pick for the best compact echinacea is Purple Emperor.
The first year we grew it, the form and flower color wowed me. It’s compact, only 18″ tall, and yet the flower stems are still long enough to make it a great plant for a cut flower garden.
Even if you don’t know it, Autumn Joy sedum is probably the sedum you recognize. Autumn Joy is great. It is the go-to sedum for commercial plantings because it has proven itself over the years. But, again, if you don’t have the space, there are options for you.
Pure Joy has light pink flowers but is very compact and my pick for a small sedum with an upright form.
If you are coming to the 18th Avenue store for our Garden Party on July 11th, be sure to check out Beth’s talk on staging perennials for all season bloom.