Giant Coreopsis and Pretty Woman Yarrow: Mid-Summer Blooms For The Dog Days Of Summer
By David Salman
I particularly enjoy the summer garden. The plants are taller, the mood is lazy and laid back, the cicadas are buzzing, the butterflies are drifting about and the bees and hummingbirds are active and busy looking for nectar and pollen. High Country Gardens is carrying two new standout perennials for fall shipping that will be stars of the mid-summer garden.
Coreopsis tripteris 'Gold Standard' (Tall Tickseed) - This tall, robust growing native perennial is a tower of black-eyed, golden-yellow flowers held on top of fine textured foliage. The original plants were selected by the prestigious Mt. Cuba Center botanic garden of Delaware for their outstanding, strongly upright growth habit and extended bloom time. The butterflies love it and later, the seed eating songbirds will be working the seed heads for their dinner. Depending on the richness of your soil and availability of water, 'Gold Standard' will reach 4 to 6 ft. in height. In more arid climates, give it some extra summer water and, if possible, plant it in a low spot that collects water after a rain. Zones 3-8.
Achillea millifolium Song Siren® 'Pretty Woman' (Pretty Woman Fernleaf Yarrow) - A new selection of the tough and resilient fernleaf yarrow, it has large flat topped heads of brilliant red flowers that gradually fade to pink. Reaching a middle-of-the -perennial border height of about 24 inches it's a robust bloomer with attractive dark green ferny foliage. A great flower for attracting bees and butterflies, I like to combine it with Coreopsis and Liatris. Xeric once established, it grows in most any soil type. Zones 3-8.
Colorful flowers for the Dog Days of Summer
The "Dog Days of Summer" is a phrase rooted in Greek and Roman astrology. It refers the rising of the star Sirius, the brilliant Dog star, into the summer sky. Sirius is associated with heat, drought, mad dogs and bad luck. Now, this is the name we use for the months of July and August, the hottest, most uncomfortable part of summer in many parts of the country.
For gardeners, it means the time in summer when the heat has baked all the spring bloomers into summer lethargy. But, now is a time to take a look at our garden and identify places that could use some summer color to wake it up. And we'll find many of our summer bloomers are excellent sources of natural nectar for attracting bees, butterflies and migrating hummingbirds and Monarchs.
Remember to "Deadhead"
This is an important time to get out into the garden and deadhead. Trim off the faded flowers left from late spring/early summer. This will help to neaten up the garden and encourage re-blooming perennials to come back into flower. If dry, give these re-bloomers a deep soaking to hasten the appearance of the next flush of flowers.
Recommendations for Mid- and Late Summer Color
We have many good choices to plant if we want to color up the summer garden. It's just unfortunate that so many gardeners buy what's blooming when they go shopping in May. Because many perennials, unlike annuals, are in flower for about 4 weeks or so, this creates a garden rich with spring color, but lacking flowers later in the season.
Some of my other favorite perennials for summer color include;
- Agastache (Hummingbird Mint) - Dramatic spires of hummingbird attracting flowers
- Allium 'Millenium' (Ornamental Onion) - Superb, 3 inch diameter globes of bright pink, bee and butterfly attracting flowers
- Berlandiera (Chocolate Flower) - Fragrant chocolate scents yellow flowers
- Echinacea (Purple Coneflower) - A favorite of butterflies and bumblebees
- Eryngium yuccafolium (Rattlesnake-Master) - Our native Eryngium that's a pollinator magnet with pure white globe-shaped flowers.
- Gaillardia (Blanket Flower) - Cheerful bi-colored flowers in shades of burgundy, red and yellow.
- Liatris (Gayfeather or Blazing Star) - Spikes of lavender-purple butterfly attracting flowers.
- Monarda (Beebalm) - Stunning, brightly colored flowers that attract bees and butterflies.
- Phlox paniculata (Tall garden Phlox) - Havenly perfume and large flower heads.
- Ratibida (Prairie Coneflower) - A treasured roadside wildflower with cheerful petals surrounding an elongated, center cone.
- Salvia (Sage) - Especially Salvia pachyphylla (for western gardeners), Salvia azurea, Salvia Raspberry Delight® and Salvia x 'Ultra Violet'
- Silene regia (Royal Catchfly) - Scarlet flowers for the bees and butterflies
- Zauschneria garrettii Orange Carpet® (Fire Chalice or Hummingbird Trumpet) - For western gardeners who want a fabulous bright orange groundcover for sun or partial shade.
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