Botanist's Lens: Summer Colors


Most nurseries are loaded with early to late summer blooming perennial and annual flowers. Today, I am going to talk about some examples of foliage interest and flowering ornamental species that will last you throughout summer. What will get you the most bang for your buck? Even though London Town's gardens are known as a beautiful example of woodland plant combinations, we have a vibrant ornamental garden, which gets new additions of annuals and perennials to suit our events needs to create a beautiful display garden. 

When choosing a summer color palette, try to also think of foliage color and blooms that will last you at least till mid summer. One of my favorite foliage color low annual is: Hypoestes phyllostachya, the pink polka dot plant. It belongs to the Acanthaceae family and it is native to Southeast Asia. You can add this as filler in pots, garden bed corners, use for edging, or as a contrast to hostas or bright yellow marigolds. It lasts well through late summer and is stunning throughout the season. 

Another foliage plant that gets overlooked is ornamental ginger. Yes, they take up lot of water, but they are fabulous by themselves in a container/garden border or as a backdrop for low annuals in a sunny spot. You should bring them in to over winter though.

Geraniums are, in my view, winners of the all summer lasting flower interest plants. They are tender for Zone 7A and 7b, hence labelled as 'annuals.' They come in variety of colors. One hanging basket or a single pot of geranium flowers will give you color throughout the season. Try bright red geraniums with chartreuse green sweet potato vine and petunias; it will definitely bring life in your garden bed/patio instantly. But it will also last well into deep summer.

Now speaking of woodland garden summer color, one plant that hasn't gotten much attention in the nursery trade is: creeping hydrangea. It can take some sun and dappled shade and has pretty white mid summer blooming flowers.

Lastly, I have to share with you a Jack in the Pulpit picture: Arisaema thunbergii ssp urashima -- that has put on a rather stunning display in the woodland gardens. So many plants and color pallet to choose from! Share with us your favorite all summer blooming annuals/perennials and shrubs. - Meenal Harankhedkar, Director of Horticulture