KUSA - Many gardens suffer a dearth of color in late summer. If your garden isn't bright now, go shopping. Many garden centers are offering sales on late-blooming perennials. Although it's still warm, the plants will settle in well now and really get their roots down. Just keep them well-watered for the next few months.
I went shopping with Cheryl Preheim at Tagawa Gardens on Friday. Her garden is in that late summer boring stage. She's also had some hail and wants to cheer herself up. The perennials we selected are tough and long-lived. In addition, many are quite drought tolerant.
Cheryl likes glowing sunset colors. Drought tolerance is also a prime consideration. The only perennial she selected that isn't drought tolerant is the hardy hibiscus. Who can blame her? The flowers are enormous--four inches across and even larger than those of a tropical hibiscus. These gorgeous flowers may be red, pink or white. These plants need a fairly sunny position and regular moisture. They're one of the last perennials to emerge in the spring.
Five perennials she'll be planting attract hummingbirds. Bright orange California fuchsia (Zauschneria), "redbirds in a tree" (Scrophularia), 'Pikes Peak Purple' penstemon, pink 'Early Bird' dianthus and several species of hummingbird mint (Agastache). These lovely flowers will draw the beautiful creatures like magnets.
From now on, Chery's late summer garden will feature some bright showy daisies. These include the perennial black-eyed Susan 'Goldsturm,' purple coneflowers and both 'Arizona Red' and 'Mesa Yellow' blanket flower (Gaillardia). Additional color will be provided by brick pink 'Autumn Joy' sedum, purple 'Table Mountain' ice plant and sea lavender (Limonium).
These perennials are tough and dependable, as well as being suitable for clayish soil. Aside from the ones that attract hummingbirds, most of these are visited by bees and butterflies. Once they are established they will thrive with minimal care and reward Cheryl with many months of colorful blooms.
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