When gardening, it’s important to design a landscape with all four seasons in mind. Many people get the gardening bug in May when the weather gets warm, and they buy perennials that are blooming in May. That often proves to be a problem come June, July and August when their garden’s flower show stops and all they’re left with is a green mass of different foliage types. If foliage is mixed well, you could still have an interesting landscape; however, most people prefer to have some flowers all season long.
This year, we are about 3-4 weeks ahead of schedule because of our unusually warm March temperatures. When planning a landscape and purchasing plants, keep track of the approximate time flowers bloom. It may vary from year to year, but you’ll at least have a succession of when one starts and ends.
This week in the garden center, many of our perennials have taken off. A colorful perennial for sunny areas that is blooming right now is Gaillardia. Both ‘Goblin’ (a dwarf variety) and ‘Fanfare’ (taller but has fluted petals- see picture above left) are blooming. If the spent flowers are deadheaded throughout the summer, the plant will continue blooming for most of July and August. One note, however, is to discontinue deadheading the perennial by mid-August. This will allow the plant to start storing energy in its roots and overwinter better. If it continues to be deadheaded into the fall, it will use all of its energy in making flowers and will either come back smaller the next season or not come back at all.
Another long season blooming perennial is Yarrow. ‘Moonshine’ is blooming in our garden center now. It has silvery foliage and yellow flowers that bloom for about 3 weeks in summer. If they are deadheaded, they can rebloom again later in the summer, providing interest twice in one season. Yarrow usually grows to a mature height of 2 feet and will spread about 3 feet. Though it prefers full sun, it will tolerate part shade. Yarrow makes a great cut flower, as well as a good dried flowerhead in arrangements.
Lilies are a favorite cut flower in arrangements in the home, and they make a nice tall background plant in the sunny bed, too. There are Asiatic and Oriental types, as well as many different new hybrids. ‘Mona Lisa’ (pictured at left) is a lighter pink color than ‘Stargazer’ but it still has the sweet fragrance Oriental lilies are known for. It grows to a height of 4 feet and spreads by bulbs underground. Expect a lot of compliments if this plant is a new addition to your landscape; flowers are about 4-6 inches across and make a bold statement.
Balloon Flowers aren’t very common, though they are easy to grow and very little maintenance is required to keep these perennials happy. They tolerate full sun to part shade and will grow in mulched beds or beds with decorative stone. If you want them to fill a large area, refrain from deadheading them and they will self seed. The garden center has three varieties available, two of which are in bloom at this time: ‘Astra Pink’ (below, left) and ‘Sentimental Blue’ (dwarf- below, right).
A great addition to a shade garden are astilbes. There are many different varieties ranging from light pink, to white, to rose-pink, to red. Astilbes also come in a range of sizes, so whether you need a border for your shade garden or something to peek over the top of your existing perennials, you should be able to find something to suit your needs. The foliage typically comes up looking very lacy and delicate in spring. When they have unfolded completely, they have a cutleaf texture that varies from variety to variety. They typically form a round mound of foliage, with the flowers shooting up above the foliage. A few customer favorites include ‘Rheinland’ (below left), which gets to be about 18-24 inches tall at maturity and ’Fanal’ (below right), which is also about 24 inches at maturity and has darker green-maroon foliage.
These perennials are just a quick glance of what is blooming in the garden center right now. If you’re looking for something else, stop by and see us! We’re happy to help you find something with summer blooms, or help you create a landscape with blooms all season!