Proctor: Bold, bright perennials for late summer drama

DENVER - Some of the biggest and brightest perennials are blooming now. It all looks a bit wild and unruly - just as it should.

If your garden is dull at this time of year, consider adding these late summer stars. One of the best tall garden phlox is called 'David,' perhaps because it's just as beautiful as

Michelangelo's white marble statue. It grows to five or six feet tall and is very easy to grow. One of its best attributes is that it doesn't get mildew, to which some varieties of phlox are prone. But who's even looking at the leaves?

One of the real eye-catchers in the borders is lance leaf rudbeckia (Rudbeckia laciniata). It towers above everything at 7 to 8 feet in height. It's native to the tall grass prairies of the Midwest.

It's been in bloom for more than three weeks already. With deadheading its golden yellow show will continue until frost. It's also important to keep butterfly bushes deadheaded. They seem to be the favorite flowers of monarch butterflies when they're migrating through here in September on their way to Mexico. Deadheading will ensure that there are plenty of flowers for the monarchs.

The butterfly bush I grow is called 'Lochinch' and is distinguished by its silver gray leaves and pale lavender flowers. The plant generally hits four to five feet in height.

The bumblebee daisy (Rudbeckia triloba) is one of the most charming plants in the garden. Triloba means that the leaves have three lobes. Bumblebee daisy is a biennial, meaning it has a two-year life cycle. The first year it just makes leaves and then it blooms the second year, sets seeds and dies. This is one plant not to deadhead; let it seed itself.

Japanese anemone (Anemone japonica) looks like it should bloom in spring but it's welcome in late summer. The simple, five-petaled dusty rose or white flowers are produced on thin, three-foot stems held high above the foliage. It looks delicate but it's a tough perennial once it gets established.

(KUSA-TV © 2014 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)


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