As June fades so too does a transitionary period in the garden. The break between spring and summer is bridged by foxgloves and peonies, Alliums and others. But it is from July where the sunny side of the garden really starts to take off.
At the nursery we have traditionally worked with prairie plants which build on hot continental summers and, as a result, flower late summer in to autumn here where it isn’t so hot. But the scene can be set with plants from more temperate climes which will carry through into the hot colours of fall.
Campanula latifolia var. macrantha
Campanula lactiflora Border Blues
The Campanulas are in especially good form now, coming in a wide variety of heights and habits, big flowers and small, typically in shades of blue, white, and purple. The Geraniums too are now hitting their stride. Again, these come in a variety of habits to suit most situations and will flower for weeks without any intervention.
Nepeta yunnanensis Blue Dragon
Nepeta, the catmints, are flowering with lovely purple flowers over felty blue aromatic foliage. These can be sheared back once the flowers fade and should flower again later. These are followed in flower by their mint relatives Agastache and the Salvias which between them can flower into October, are tolerant of drier and poorer soils and are very popular with pollinators.
Two more unusual plants in this category are Nepeta govaniana, a plant with soft yellow flowers and foliage with a lovely citrus scent when bruised, and Salvia forsskaolii a fabulous large-leaved species from the Balkans which flowers for weeks. Both of these are useful as they take more shade than their sunnier relatives.
Thalictrum Black Stockings
Sanguisorba Pink Brushes
Thalictrum have been flowering since late spring and different species will keep up the performance all summer. Into July, The tall Thalictrum ‘Elin’ is starting to flower and the unusual blue leaves of Thalictrum flavum subsp. Glaucum are topped with fluffy yellow flowers. The Sanguisorbas are also capable of flowering for months with early flowering forms just finishing and the later species just thinking about getting started. These are lovely airy easy plants which work beautifully with grasses.
Pennisetum macrourum/ Calamagrostis K. Foerster
Speaking of which, the late season grasses also like continental heat and as such also last deep into winter here and their fresh greens work as a textural backdrop for July and August-flowering perennials and their flowers and caramelising autumn colours are the perfect foil for Asters in September and October.
Everywhere you look in the nursery things are picking up speed and the peak summer season is just about to begin.