Summer, summer, we love summer! And out of all the wonders that summer has to offer, lovely gardens full of flowers have got to rank near the very top. Shy spring blooms like snowdrops and crocuses are appealing in their own delicate way, but there’s something refreshingly honest about the upfront showiness of summer blossoms. Here are 5 of the most fetching for you to enjoy.
By midsummer, long-lived dahlias are just getting the party started. Many varieties will continue to bloom straight through the fall. While their bright colors are charming, dahlias are truly outstanding due to their size. Blossoms can measure anywhere from 2 inches (nicknamed “lollipops”) up to 10 inches in diameter (“dinner plates”), on stems that often grow to 4-5 feet tall. Dahlias are raised from tubers rather than seeds or bulbs. Although they’re considered true perennials only in Zones 7 through 10, in cooler climates the tubers may be carefully dug up and overwintered in a location like a garage or basement … any where the temperature won’t drop below 45 degrees F.
With their Popsicle-bright flowers and tall stems (usually 10 to 18 inches in length) reaching up toward the sun, Gerbera daisies shout out “Summer!” loud and proud. Sunlight loving gerberas are considered annual plants in Hardiness Zones 3 through 7 and tender perennials in Zone 8. However, head to the southern United States and you will find these colorful blooms livening up the landscape all year round. And no wonder – these pretty posies originated in South Africa, which is why they’re often referred to as Transvaal daisies.
A flowering shrub that was once dismissed as hopelessly old-fashioned, today the hydrangea is back on the garden scene. This charming perennial can now be seen starring in the country’s most stylish yards, in Hardiness Zones 3 through 9. With their luxuriously large clusters of dainty blue, pink, white, or even purple blooms, hydrangeas will add a glorious note of color to your landscaping in midsummer. Leave the blossoms on their bushes as the season turns toward fall … and you’ll end up with natural dried flower arrangements that you can bring indoors and enjoy all winter long.
Zinnias offer amazingly convincing empirical evidence that so-called clashing colors such as yellow, purple, orange, and pink CAN coexist … peacefully and even beautifully. These fast-growing, easy-care annuals are also extremely flexible, thriving across US Hardiness Zones 3 to 10. Zinnia plants tend to do best when sown directly in your garden as seed (unfortunately, they do not take well to being transplanted once they’ve sprouted) and will fill your flower bed or container with abundant blooms when full summer arrives. BONUS: Zinnias absolutely adore hosting visiting butterflies.
Yes, we can count roses as a summer flower. They do tend to have a long season – some will flower continuously from mid-spring right through autumn (and certain varieties are hardy enough to survive a Zone 3 winter!) -- but there’s something about the sight and scent of rose blossoms basking in the full summer sunshine that adds an extra special touch to any flower garden. While dainty pink and yellow buds seem more suited to the mild weather of spring, our current favorites are deeper hued. In fact, one gardening company has even developed a gorgeously ruffled red and white variety dubbed Fourth of July™. Roses are popular in summer as bridal bouquets or party centerpieces because they generally stand up well to heat.
Laura Firszt writes for networx.com.