The dog days of summer with heat and dry gardens have arrived, and so peaks my admiration and affection for drought tolerant perennials. Yarrow is one of those tough performers whose glorious blooms exalt in the hot sun. Yarrow offers a varied palette from golden yellow and juicy cerise, to pretty in pink. I love the new ‘Apple Blossom’ and ‘Saucy Seduction’ planted last year. Read more about yarrow by clicking here.
Be it clear golden, chocolate brown or shades of russet – these ‘fancy’ rudbeckia add spice and flare to the garden. These are Rudbeckia hirta, or fancy rudbeckia as I call them. Unlike regular rudbeckia they are a short lived perennial, with cultivars like Prairie Sun, Toto Rustic and Cappuccino as above that offer a range of colours. I plant these here and there through the perennial beds for fantastic blooms! Read more about regular rudbeckia by clicking here.
These luscious blooms opened in our last few days of summer heat. The deep red captures and holds you in its presence, so you just have to appreciate its beauty! Many of my lilies were taken out by the lily beetle several years ago, but this one triumphantly lives on. Read more about Asiatic lilies by clicking here.
The parade of daylilies is in full swing! They are extra extravagant with bounteous blooms this year thanks to the rains we’ve had. Satisfy your colour craving with creamy or citrus yellow, vivacious orange, rich rouge or rosy pink – daylilies come in a decadent array of choices. You can also indulge in textures of velvet, rumpled, frilled or silky smooth. This favourite perennial is a low maintenance staple in my garden. Read more detail by clicking here.
Whether you call them evening primrose, sundrops or the proper Oenothera, this easy care perennial overflows with golden blooms! The profuse four-petal blossoms in their vivid yellow hue are reminiscent of buttercups, but larger and more decadent. These lovelies have been blooming 4+ weeks and are still going strong. Be cautioned that this beauty is a spreader – read more about sundrops by clicking here.
A simple annual in a quirky pot can perk up your day! This mix of portulaca in lemon yellow, ripe coral and fresh white add an appreciated spot of colour and brightness. Read more about portulaca by clicking here.
The fiesta of colour that is blanket flower (Gaillardia) has begun! The gentle grey-green foliage is loaded with blooms and buds, and more buds to come that will carry right into frosty fall. This feisty perennial is often short lived, but randomly and socially self-seeds to weave its bands of brilliance through the garden. It even pops up from hardened soil between stepping stones. With circles of fierce red to coral to orange and golden yellow, these sun-loving hot blooms add flare and sensation! Read more about Gaillardia by clicking here.
This extravagant campanula never fails to impress. The royal purple cups, with a sprinkling of golden pollen, glow in the sun. The stalky stems are stacked with dazzling blooms. The double form is resplendent in rich ruffles. While there are pink and white varieties, this splashy purple is my favourite. Read about another favourite campanula by clicking here.
Technical stuff – Canterbury bells/Campanula medium, hardy biennial to zone 4, height and spread of 24”+, full sun, blooms early summer.
My absolute favourite name for a flower is buttercups – it is the perfect fit for this petite but glorious bloom! What name could be better chosen for wee cup shaped blooms of buttery golden hue? And each petal has rainbow sheen, reflecting magically in the sun. Slender stems reach skyward, dancing above fancy cut leaves. This native wildflower grows in meadows and fields, and can also pop up in your garden. Do you consider it a weed or a gift of extra sunny blooms? If you didn’t know this plant already, would you buy it as a perennial?
Technical stuff – Buttercups/Ranunculus acris, native perennial wildflower, height of 24”-36” and spread of about 20”, part sun to full sun, prefers well drained soil, summer bloomer.
I am most excited that this stately wildflower has made home in our forest. On one of my walks I noticed the trio of umbrella-like leaves and on closer look met Jack, of jack in the pulpit (Arisaema triphyllum). This native plant provides folly for the imagination with its ‘little man’ perched inside his personal house complete with flap top roof.
And so spring has handed off to summer. While many blooms have nodded off, the parade of summer is quickly preparing! A wander in the garden holds a fresh wave of pending pageantry: spiky green rosettes of coneflower bud, clematis on the verge, delphinium arching and stretching for its forthcoming flex of beauty. Lacy hydrangea holds the promise of puffy pom-poms. Each day chubby domes swell larger atop the milkweed. Campanula puckers with un-burst cups. Yarrow, daisies and daylilies have an ample spattering of buds with a bounty of blooms to come. Welcome summer!
Weigela double rewards the gardener with fabulous bloom and fabulous foliage. Indulge in profuse pastel to jewel tone blooms of whites, pinks or reds in late spring to summer. The tubular blossoms are a favourite of hummingbirds and bees. Foliage can range from bronze-maroon to vivid green or variegated greens, or green and white. Favourite cultivars include: Wine & Roses (purple foliage with deep pink blooms), Red Prince (solid bright green foliage with red blooms), Minuet (green tinged purple foliage with medium pink blooms), or French Lace (variegated green foliage with deep pink blooms). So much delectable choice - I counted ten weigela shrubs in my garden, so it is a staple of mine!
Technical stuff – Weigela/Weigela, deciduous shrub with most cultivars available here hardy to zone 4 or 5, height of 2’-9’ and spread of 3’-10’ (varies by cultivar, dwarf varieties available), prefers full sun or part sun (fewer blooms with less sun) and well drained, moist, fertile soil, blooms late spring into summer, prune back to strong buds after blooming and can remove a third of old growth.
Enchanting columbines (Aquilegia) are blooming now and ready for their close-ups! The spurred blossoms nod atop tall stems in a rich range of colours. The wildflower version in orange-red with a golden center is also blooming in forests now. Read more about columbine by clicking here.