Mark Cullen on adding a final pop of colour to summer gardens
Published Wednesday, August 15, 2012 7:27AM EDT
Last Updated Wednesday, August 15, 2012 8:19AM EDT
As the high season of gardening wanes and the perennial flowers of Shasta daisies, day lilies and peonies become a memory, many other great flowering plants come into their own.
If you don’t have any or all of these plants in your garden, consider them as your reward for the wonderful summer that you spent with the kids or grandchildren and a colourful celebration of the autumn season that is only a month away.
Rudbeckia Goldstrum, 80 cm. A “perennial plant of the year” only a few years ago, this is a winner in anyone’s books. It blooms for up to 10 weeks, so it is as much a mid-summer flowering plant as it is a late-summer/early-fall performer. It’s hardy to zone 4 (Ottawa) and treated as an annual elsewhere. The golden daisy-like flowers are fabulous.
Echinacea Purpurea “Purple Cone Flower,” one meter. This is great prairie native, so you know that it is hardy. This plant blooms from late July through August and into September -- the further north you go the later it blooms, naturally. This pick has no insect or disease problems to speak of and it thrives after its first year in dry soil. This plant needs lots of sun to perform at its best.
Hydrangea, one meter. This is another perennial shrub that keeps on giving. The one that I brought to Canada AM today is called “Limelight.” It’s one of the new varieties introduced under the “Proven Winners” brand. It is worthy of the name, I think. It has huge blossoms and long-lasting colour. It is also easy to care for, tolerant of a half-day of sun/shade and somewhat fond of water. But don’t overdue it.
Agastache (Russian Sage), 80 cm.I love this plant for its long flowering period (now until late September) and its ability to attract pollinators such as hummingbirds and honey bees. This pick needs a sunny place in your garden. Plant a few, if you have the space.
Joe Pye Weed, Eupatorium.My hummingbirds love this perennial. This is a near-native, with a broad, umbel-shaped flower that keeps on going from mid-summer through September. It’s a dominant plant in a deep perennial garden or border.
Perennial Hibiscus. This giant flowering plant is novel because the flowers are almost the size of a pie plate. It also has great colours that are vibrant. It is hardy to zone 4.
Want a lift this time of year? Plant some colourful perennials in your garden. You can’t lose.