Nurseries stock up with amazing plant material in the spring and consumers gladly purchase every item to fill their gardens with color. By mid-summer most of those spring beauties are long past their prime and sometimes our gardens become quiet, lacking color and interest. That certainly doesn’t need to be the case as there are many plants that add a punch to our landscapes this time of year.
Verbenia bonariensis is by definition an annual, but it happily reseeds to provide years of enjoyment. The blooms are set aloft on spiky stems that are see-through. I particularly like to grow it through other plants that are low in stature like Lonicera or Deutzia.
For native plant lovers, Scuttelaria incana is a great choice since it blooms for a long time, attracts tons of pollinators, and even puts on a strong floral show in shady spots. Scuttelaria is quite happy in dry or average garden soil.
Ceratostigma plumbaginoides (Plumbago) is a low, spreading plant that has showy blue flowers in the summer and nice fall color later on. It’s deer resistance is an added bonus.
Phlox paniculata and Rudbeckia offer brilliant pops of color in the garden during the summer months. Phlox is also incredibly fragrant, perfuming the space all around it. Newer varieties have good powdery mildew resistance as well. Make sure you place Phlox where deer can’t get to it since it’s one of their favorite buffet items. Rudbeckia ‘Gold Rush’ was designated as a Gold Medal Plant by the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society for 2021, recognizing it an an outstanding option for mid-Atlantic gardens.
While not deer resistant, I couldn’t have a garden without the sun-loving Hydrangea paniculata. Many paniculate forms of Hydrangea are large, but in recent years a number of dwarf varieties entered the market making it a good choice for either large or small gardens.
I planted Kalimeris around my mailbox and multiple neighbors and friends have commented on it. What other non-annual plant blooms from June to October? Kalimeris is a plant I couldn’t live without!
Eupatorium ‘Little Joe’ (recently renamed Eutrochium) is another fabulous native plant that forms large clumps in the garden and attracts butterflies galore. Be warned that even the dwarf versions of this plant are still quite stately. In my garden ‘Little Joe’ stands about five feet tall.
Daylilies are very popular plants. I suspect they would be planted even more often if they weren’t so popular as deer food. At three feet, Hemerocalis ‘Rocket City’ serves as a focal point in my summer space.
If you need a plant for shade that blooms mid-summer, I recommend Astilbe chinensis ‘Pumila.’ This Astilbe tolerates drier conditions than other Astilbes and colonizes rapidly to form a large carpet of blooms.
As part of the onion family, Allium are extremely deer resistant plants. Allium ‘Millenium’ and Allium ‘Summer Beauty’ will grow well in any sunny or partly sunny space. I believe Allium are deer- proof since I have never seen a deer touch them, even in places where the deer populations are massive.
Agastache has fragrant foliage (some say it smells like root beer) and attracts lots of bees and butterflies. The summer to fall bloom time can be extended by deadheading spent flowers or even by cutting the plant down if it becomes unruly.
Acanthus mollis flowers emerge in July. My plant is situated where it receives morning sun and afternoon shade. The flower spikes are architectural in nature and contrast nicely with other plants like Clethra ‘Hummingbird.’
I love all of these beautiful plants and think they are particularly striking when used in combination. I hope you’ll consider adding some ‘Summer Love’ to your own garden this season. Or perhaps you are in love with some other mid-summer bloomers. If so, please share your favorites.