The focal point of a great perennial bed is the flower color and if you have just a few perennials that flower all season long you have a summer of color. Most perennials bloom for about a month or so then they start to make the seed and get a little raggedy and tired looking. A few perennials though start to flower in late spring and continue to do so all summer long and even past the first frost of fall. These are the rare beauties of the garden that make gardening both a pleasure and easy.
My favorite all season long flower is the gaillardia, also known as the blanket flower. The pretty little yellow daisy-like flowers mature to leave a seed head that is like a small globe of residual color. The plants take full sun, and are drought tolerant as well as heat tolerant which makes it perfect for my garden. New gaillardias, such as Goblin, are in a range of colors from orange/red to brilliant yellows and they are very hardy.
Dianthus is another great standby in the garden and the new varieties just keep on producing bright pink flowers even when you don’t deadhead it! Dianthus have blue/green leaves with ruffled pink flowers that start blooming in mid to late spring and continue until past the first frosts. Excess moisture is perhaps the only problem with this plant which enjoys good drainage and full sun.
Daylilies are another star of the summer garden which takes both full sun and part shade. There are new daylilies that come out each year but most are a variation of sunny yellow blooms that each last just one day, but that continue to bloom all summer.
Lavender is an herb that really needs no introduction and the foliage looks good in the garden even without the flower. The lavender spikes usually start forming in early summer when you get a mass of color but you will continue to get flowers forming all the way through until fall and first snows arrive. Drought tolerant and best in full sun, lavenders make great plants to edge a garden walk or perennial bed.
Roses can also flower all year long. Some of the modern Knockout roses bloom from spring through fall in even the southern climates and take very little care. There are several colors to choose from in the Knockout series, but my favorite is still the original red.
With just a few perennials that bloom all summer long, your perennials bed will never be without color.