Flowers are having a good summer

Flowers are having a good summer.

On our daily walks, my dogs and I look at neighbor’s yards for ideas about plants and color schemes. Right now marigolds, black-eyed susans, purple cone flower and phlox are center stage. Hydrangeas, rose-of-sharon and roses are all blooming.

The roses are a bit of a surprise because they usually seem to rest in the heat of summer then re-bloom in the fall. But many are blooming now.

This year, I planted nasturtiums for the first time and so far I’m pleased, single large seeds produced mounds of flowers.

Petunias look good, I planted some in containers but those in neighbor’s yards that are planted in the ground are doing better. Also, my neighbor’s white petunias set off plants around them. I may try that next year. Petunias are fragrant and that is a bonus.

I planted one heliotrope plant, purchased from a greenhouse, in the front yard. It has bloomed continuously and fragrantly all summer. Heliotrope that were planted from seed are huge plants in the garden, yet to bloom.

Many of these flowers can be cut and brought inside to add color and cheer to rooms. I have a vase of black-eyed susans, and purple coneflower also makes a decent cut flower. Some flowers are planted just for cutting and bringing into the house. Zinnias are great cut flowers; no fragrance but long lasting. Gladiolas come in many colors and make a good cut flower. Surprisingly, the naked ladies/resurrection lilys that are blooming now make an attractive bouquet.

Some flowers are just not meant to be cut and brought it. I tried the heliotrope and it immediately wilted.

It looks like the sedums are ready to bloom next. For some of my flowers I am torn between wanting to cut them and bring them in, and wanting them to set seed and return next year.

A neighbor gave me purple larkspur and it’s blooming beautifully, but I want it to return so will experiment with cutting next year.

As with any kind of flower, removing the summer flower after it blooms directs energy into plant growth and not seed formation (unless you want seeds). Ditch lilies are finished blooming and I remove the stems that held the flowers. Other day lilies can be dead headed as they finish flowering.

Catalogues are arriving for fall planting of bulbs and perennials. It’s a treat to look at all the possibilities, but I try to limit myself to plants I already know I want.

Hyacinths did not come back after last winter and need to be replaced if I’m to have that fragrant splash of spring color in my yard. They will be planted in the back since I cut most of them to bring the flowers inside. Tulips will be going into the refurbished front bulb and herb garden since there weren’t enough last spring.

Something unusual in the catalogues always captures my attention and so something different was ordered. It’s a bit of a challenge to figure out the best catalogue to use since shipping charges differ, as well as prices, number of bulbs, and offerings. I figured an overall cost per bulb and went with the best deal.

Enjoy the summer color.

Susan Carty is a local gardener and a professor emerita of biology at Heidelberg University.

Contact her via:newsroom@advertiser-tribune.com