Summer’s here and the time is right…
… not for dancing in the street but for planting up a load of colour, jazzing up a patio and putting in a pretty water feature
attractive near water features or among ornamental grasses.
Blue flowers are always welcome in a summer garden, and agapanthus flowers come in powder to deep blue to blue-violet.
Grow dwarf agapanthus alongside pathways, in rockery pockets and in pots, those of intermediate height towards the centre of beds, and taller agapanthus in clusters as strong accent points at the back.
Agapanthus have a strong fleshy rootstock suitable for holding soil on banks.
Angelonias and penstemons, with their spires of flowers, contrast well with the shapes of day lilies and agapanthus. Angelonias have snapdragon-like blooms in lavender, pink, purple and white, and need fertile, well-drained soil, regular water and full sun, or morning sun and afternoon shade in hot gardens.
Penstemons will continue flowering into autumn if old flower spikes are regularly removed. Their tubular white, pink, red, lavender and purple flowers, some bicoloured, can be dainty or gloxinia-like, with leaves broad or narrow.
Gauras are tough, drought- and heat-resistant perennials with butterfly-like flowers of white and shades of pink, held on tall wiry stems that add a delicate effect in the garden.
Fill your garden and home with the scents of summer by growing plants with fragrant flowers and foliage on patios, under windows and near garden benches. Train star jasmine ( Trachelospermum jasminoides) on trellises and walls.
Roses are part of the enjoyment of a summer garden, and those that are fragrant are doubly welcome. Gardenias have white, heavily scented single or double flowers. They need an acid, humus-rich soil, and sun or semi-shade. Dwarf gardenias do well in containers.
Lavender and rosemary release their perfume when their leaves are bruised or touched, making them ideal for planting along paths. Scented-leaf pelargoniums are grown for their aromatic foliage that may have a rose, lemon, orange, nutmeg or peppermint scent.
Berg hyacinths (galtonias), with their tall spikes of pendant white bells, add an elegant statement when planted in groups in summer borders. The flowers of eucomis, with their curious pineapple “topknots”, make a dramatic statement in the garden.
Dahlias are invaluable in the summer garden. Flowers vary from tiny pom-poms to large exhibitiontype blooms. Given a sunny position, well-composted soil, excellent drainage and regular feeding and watering, they will reward the gardener by flowering throughout summer and well into autumn.
Summer-flowering arums (calla lilies) are deciduous and grow from a tuber. They do very well in pots, but may need extra watering during hot weather. Flower spathes are attractive, in shades of yellow, apricot, pink, ruby and maroon.
While the orange of crocosmias is dominant in many hybrids, there are others of scarlet and red, apricot, gold and yellow, and in some instances the foliage is bronze. They prefer moisture-retentive, rich soil, and do well in light or semi shade.
While the majority of summer flowering perennials and bulbs need well-drained soil and sunshine, there are others that will grow in woodland conditions. Astilbes have fern-like foliage and feathery white, pink or red plumes held above the foliage. Also with fern-like foliage, thalictrum (meadow rue) has tall sprays of dainty mauve blooms.
Hostas are dormant in winter; their green, blue-green or variegated leaves appear in spring and mature in summer when mauve flowers appear. They need moist, rich soil, and shade and protection from snails.
FORMAL LOOK: Formal gardens give you structure, such as this classic formal garden around a water feature in Marina da Gama.
WATER-WISE: Get spiritual with water and design a water garden.
BLOOMING MARVELLOUS: Summer is the time to plant petunias.