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Summer Staples for Extended Bloom in the Summer Heat, Zone 7

As we approach the end of the flower garden season for 2017, I've decided to summarize some of my garden lessons learned in the next few posts. Here are some of my favorite performers for mid to late season blooms: Cosmos, Salvia coccinea (pink), Black and Blue Sage, Chinese Aster, Scabiosa columbaria ochroleuca, Echinacea, Butterfly bush, Perennial Lantana.

This Cosmos re-seeds each year. It attracts pollinators as you can see. I have these in almost full sun in a garden bed filled with mushroom compost. Once they get going in mid-summer (late June or early July) they will continue until frost. The only maintenance I do is pull up the dead plants after the seed heads have exploded. These are annuals. This photo was taken Oct. 10, 2017. Seedlings are still coming up on Oct. 18, 2017.

Pink Salvia Coccinea These put on a great show starting in July. If we have a dry spell they will suffer, but survive. We've finally had some rain after a 23 day streak of no rain. Look how well they have revived. This is also an annual. I do not pull these up until frost. They keep their good looks thru the season. Hummingbirds are attracted to these, but the Black and Blue Sage is their favorite. This photo was taken Oct. 10, 2017. They do fine in part sun here.

Black and Blue Sage This perennial keeps coming all summer until frost. They do require deadheading. They are a huge favorite of pollinators (bees and hummingbirds) in my garden. I have these in part sun. This is another plant that will suffer during a long dry period, but it will survive. This photo was taken on Oct. 8, 2017.

Chinese Aster This is a perennial which starts blooming in June. It was still looking good in late September. The blooms have slowed in mid-October. I dead head this throughout the season. While they don't attract pollinators, they are a great bloomer for one of my more difficult garden spots. They face west and have part shade in the morning. I purchased one plant in late summer 2016. I was able to divide it into multiple clusters in mid-June 2017 because it had spread. It survived our dry spell with occasional watering. This photo was taken Sept. 25, 2017.

Yellow Pincushion flower, Scabiosa columbaria var ochroleuca

This perennial is also a self seeder. I love to grow these as filler plants. They add a lovely softness to the garden. The color is a creamy soft yellow. Small pollinators love these. I also dead head these periodically to keep them sending up new stems. These want sun, but appreciate some moisture. They will survive in dry conditions. This photo was taken Oct. 18th, 2017.

Note: I am actually trimming the old growth off of the plant instead of just pinching the buds when I reference dead heading. It's much quicker! When you have a large amount of plants rotate trimming so you will have some blooms going at any given time. It also makes the task less daunting.

Echinaceas, Butterfly bushes and Lantana are so well known, I won't post individual photos. They are wonderful plants for pollinators and sunny locations. Lantanas don't need deadheading, but the Echinaceas and Butterfly bushes do need it. You will have blooms thru Sept. Use the search field on the home page to see previous posts pertaining to these plants.

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