By Alex Tisthammer / Fort Collins Nursery
The sun is high and so are the flowers! Sunflowers are towering over us in the late summer sun and we are getting slightly sick of gardening in the heat. August usually brings afternoon rain showers that are sweet relief from the high summer temperatures. If your garden looks like it’s feeling the heat as much as you are, a little lackluster and tired, here are a few perennials that are just getting going when we are ready to throw in the trowel.
- Hardy Hibiscus- A centerpiece for any sunny perennial bed. The flowers are the size of dinner plates! Very tropical looking, come in pinks, whites and reds.
- Rudbeckia- A late summer must with sunny yellow or orange flowers and black centers.
- Helianthus- ‘Maximilian’ or ‘Sunchoke’ are both behemoth varieties that are perfect for wetter areas in the yard, or in low spots where water tends to pool. Very beneficial for bees.
- Ornamental Grasses- Grasses have flowers too! Their seed heads are beautiful in the late summer sun and can add texture to any area. They also highlight other plants by creating a backdrop.
- Bronze Fennel-Yellow umbels and ferny burgundy foliage. A powerhouse for beneficials including bees, butterflies and moths. It is a caterpillar food plant and has nectar/pollen rich flowers and has seeds for birds. My puppy loves to steal nibbles from it.
- Russian Sage- Lavender-blue flowers that once they start blooming it just seems to keep going and going. A plus for the bees because it is one of their favorites. The species is rather large, but luckily there have been dwarf varieties bred for smaller spaces.
- Blue Mist Caryopteris- This shrub has prolific blue flowers, is drought tolerant and thrives in the sun. Yet another great late season food for bees.
- Sedum- You could write an entire article on all the different types of sedum. They come small, tall and everything in between! They have yellow, pink or white flowers.
- Zauschenaria- Also known as Orange Hummingbird Carpet, this plant has cascading tubular flowers that almost completely cover the narrow gray-green leaves.
- Joe Pye Weed- Towering pink umbels bloom atop purple stems and deep green leaves. Another perennial that prefers soggy soils.