Gardeners dream of creating a garden that provides an abundance of flowers from April through October. Of course, it takes more than just dreaming and it even takes more than planting a variety of flowers. To assure you have a long season of blossoms, make certain you plant flowers that bloom during each season. Flowers that bloom during the summer are generally heat-tolerant with colourful blossoms and hardy, pest-resistant foliage.
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Columbines are an old-fashioned summer-blooming perennial. Best known for their white centres and pastel-coloured outer petals, the most common varieties of columbine reach heights of 18 inches and spread 12 to 18 inches wide. For gardeners who prefer more exotic cultivars, there is the rose-like doubly winky columbine or the ultra-dramatic Dorothy Rose columbine. The Dorothy Rose produces a flower that looks like a ruffled skirt with rows of down-facing petals layered on top of each other. Columbines can adapt to a wide range of soil conditions and thrive in full sun to partial shade. Most are mid-summer bloomers that provide a mass of delicate flowers for weeks.
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Also known as echinacea, purple coneflower is a summer blooming perennial that boasts large daisy-like flowers in shades of lilac to deep purple. Purple coneflower grows up to 3 feet high and spreads 18 to 24 inches wide. It attracts bees and butterflies and is also deer-resistant. Echinacea creates a naturalised look to the flower garden and provides dramatic cut flowers. Purple coneflower prefers partial sun, grows quickly from seed or plantings and adapts to a variety of soil conditions. It is a long bloomer, beginning mid-summer in most zones and blooms can last through October.
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A common name for Gaillardia is "blanket flower" because of its ability to blanket the garden with flowers in a short time. Gaillardia comes in a variety of warm hues, including orange, red, yellow and almost endless combination of those colours. It is a low-growing, perennial plant, usually reaching no more than 24 inches high. The shortest varieties grow only 4 to 6 inches tall. Gaillardia adds bright clusters of colour to the summer garden. It is highly adaptable and prefers full sun.
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Petunia is an annual flower that comes in a wide variety of brilliant colours including red, purple, pink, white, yellow and variegated. Petunias provide long-term summer colour and require little maintenance. There are several varieties of petunia, including the "Supertunia," twhich grows only 7 inches high and spreads up to 36 inches wide. Most petunias grow quickly, prefer full sun and can adapt to a wide variety of soil conditions. Plant a petunia and you will be rewarded with mounds of summer colour that requires very little care. In zones 9 to 11 the petunia can be grown as a perennial.