When the cares of the world are all around us, what is it that draws us to our gardens?
Perhaps, as someone suggested, gardens teach us grand lessons. Flowers, for example, do not judge — they respond to everybody the same way. Plant them at the right time, in the right soil, with the right amount of water, etc., and they grow and blossom for you.
Even better. A plant doesn’t care what neighborhood it’s in — whether its home is a lush landscape or a tiny window box.
And a flower or plant doesn’t even care if it’s alone. Nurtured right, it will smile its bright colors, wave gently in the breeze, and feed visiting pollinators — all on its lonesome.
As for this summer’s garden, if you waited too long, and didn’t get around to planting bulbs this spring, no worries. Even though long hot summer days will soon be upon us, there’s lots of beautiful summer-loving flowers you can add. And since weather in the northeast over the next week or so should remain reasonably temperate, there’ll be plenty of time to spend in your gardens.
Nurseries and COVID-19
If you are concerned about purchasing flowers during COVID-19, and you are not using a landscaper such as Deck and Patio which supplies the plantings, you can phone your local nursery and see how they are handling sales.
Hicks Nurseries, a well-known Long Island nursery, says it is practicing safe distancing and all their staff wear masks. They also tell us that those who do not wish to go inside their greenhouse can shop outside where they have also set up a check out.
Now for some beautiful summer plant ideas:
Lilies are perfect summer plants. They come in lots of colors and have a lovely symbolism.
To enjoy them all summer long, you can plant a variety of the bulbs. Here’s the bloom times for some varieties:
Madonna Lilly blooms in early June.
Asian Lilies: Mid-June
Trumpet Lilies: Late-June
Oriental Lilies: Early August
Nepalese Lilies: Mid-August
Speciosum Hybrids: September
One of our favorites is a wildflower — the black-eyed Susan, a.k.a., coneflower. These plants are tough and take heat and bright sunshine well. They add gorgeous bursts of color to any garden, including around water gardens. But they don’t just turn the outdoors lovely. As cut flowers, they make great bouquets.
The following two photos celebrating coneflowers are Deck and Patio projects.
Again, we have a plant here that thrives in the sun. These beautifully leafed flora are great as container or bedding plants. It’s certainly a good time to add them to your gardens — or anywhere you’d like a spot of color — as they don’t survive during frost and cold climes unless you take them inside.
If you plant them now they’ll thrive through the warm months…just pinch the tips from the stems regularly to help growth.
The following Deck and Patio project shows coleus we planted near a water feature.
This lovely annual looks like pom-poms; their flowers come in purple, red, and white and last into fall. Hardy as it is, do water it from the soil, not overhead, which can cause a powderly mildew to grow.
These plants will die back when frost appears but their seeds will germinate after winter.
People often think of hibiscus as a tropical flower — which it is. But it will thrive surprisingly well elsewhere, including the northeast. They do need lots of space, rich well-drained soil, and plenty of water but are worth the coddling.
Some varieties of hibiscus can grow into trees. How about that.
Talk about saving the best for the last. Verbena shows its stuff (beautiful blooms) during the hottest of summer heat. Available in annual and perennial varieties, they are long lasting spreaders. They come in 250 varieties so there’s lots of color to choose from, including white, pink, or purple.
Some of the species are drought resistant, too, if that’s on your mind. They are often used in herbal teas…and as if all this wasn’t good enough, butterflies and hummingbirds love them.