When we enter the hot summer, some parts of the garden may start to look a little tired. Fortunately, there are several perennials that thrive in the heat and strong sunlight experienced in the western mountainous areas from mid-summer to late summer, adding bright colors to the landscape. In addition to liking high temperatures and sunlight, the following perennials also happen to be resistant to deer and rabbits, their flowering period is extended, and requires minimal care. All kinds of not to love?
‘Blue Python’ Agastaki
Agastas “Blue Python”, zones 5-10
In general, I like Agastas. They are easy to take care of, come in a variety of flower colors, leaf textures and colors, and they have a lovely faint licorice smell. I like “Blue Boa” because its deep purple blue flower spikes seem to bloom forever. Butterflies and hummingbirds who visit my garden especially like it. It begins to bloom in mid-to-late June and continues to bloom throughout the rest of summer. In full sunlight, it is 2 to 2.5 feet high and 1.5 to 2 feet wide. I occasionally use flowers and plants to encourage re-blooming and keep it looking neat and tidy.
Zinnia, Zone 4-9
The bright yellow flowers covering the ground screamed “Summer”. The slender needle-like leaves cover the woody stems, making it look like a small shrub, similar to ordinary thyme (Thyme, Area 5-9). It reaches 4 to 6 inches high and 15 inches wide. This little gem prefers hot, sunny places and works in a dry design. The flowers bloom from late summer to autumn. It also attracts bees and butterflies.
Kismet® Raspberry cone flower
Echinacea ‘TNECHKR’, zones 4-9
Of course, I cannot resist adding cone flowers to this list. There are many varieties to choose from, and over the years I have grown and wrote many articles about them. This particular variety has more wine or berry colors, hence the name.Kismet® The series is famous for its long-blooming cone flowers. Plants reach 1.5 feet high and 1.5 to 2 feet wide in full sunlight. Like other cone flowers, flowers attract butterflies. If the seed heads are left in winter, you will find finches and other small birds feeding on them.
Blue Globe Thistle
Hedgehog, Area 3–8
Although the word “thistle” may make you shudder, don’t worry, ball thistle is not an invasive weed. The leaves are similar, dark green, and the deeply divided leaves are fuzzy and prickly. But the decorative flowers of blue globe thistle rose from the leaves and seemed to glow, especially at dusk. When in full bloom, it will reach 3 to 4 feet high and 1½ to 2 feet wide. Once the flowers wither, the seed heads will continue to bring interest to autumn. During flowering, this plant is overgrown with various bees and butterflies. It is drought tolerant and requires minimal care. It can also make beautiful cut flowers, whether fresh or dried.
— Michelle Provaznik is the executive director of Spring Creek Gardens in Fort Collins, Colorado.