Perennials, plants that live for three or more years, often form the basis of flower beds and landscapes in many home gardens. Perennials that bloom all summer long provide the same benefits as their long-blooming annual counterparts while offering the additional benefit of returning year after year without having to be replanted. By stocking the landscape with these summer-long bloomers, gardeners create the perfect background against which to plant a variety of annuals and other shorter-blooming perennials.
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Many perennials bloom through all or most of the summer. Examples of perennials that flower from May or June and through September include violets, the balloonflower and coralbells. Daylilies and fringed bleedingheart also bloom from early to late summer, with daylilies developing flowers in a variety of colours depending on the type, and fringed bleedingheart producing pink flowers set against blue- and grey-tinged foliage. Also, perennial hibiscus grows from mid-spring to the first autumn frost, making it a good choice as a long-blooming flower in warm southern climates.
Most perennials do not bloom for months on end, but many more exist that bloom for at least two months. These include threadleaf coreopsis, Russian sage and cranesbill. Choosing from among these slightly shorter-blooming flowers provides more options, allowing you to fill in the remainder of the garden with flowers that still perform well with little effort.
Filling in the gaps
Even perennials that bloom all summer long won't provide flowers throughout the entire growing season. Complement your summer-blooming perennials and prolong the life of your flower garden by adding some spring- and fall-blooming varieties to the mix. Leopard's bane produces small yellow flowers in the spring, while Lenten rose develops white and pink flowers early in the season, growing well in shady areas. Fall choices include Autumn Joy sedum with its pink- to brown-coloured flowers, as well as lavender, phlox and obedient plant. These all bloom starting as early as July and continuing as late as October in warm climates.
Several perennials provide foliage that adds interest to the garden long after the blooms have faded. Plants such as blue false indigo, Bethlehem sage and even well-known peonies offer texture, colour and contrast in the landscape. These make an excellent background for the long-flowering perennials in your garden. The butterfly bush also offers colourful blooms throughout the summer, attracting butterflies to the garden in the process.
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