There are two types of flowers, perennials, and annuals. Annuals bloom non-stop the entire season we spend outdoors, then fade in the winter cold. Perennials usually have a shorter bloom cycle but come back year after year for decades of garden enjoyment. June is when you will find the most variety of perennial flowers at Watters Garden Center, but here are my favorites for the best show through the summer heat.
Crazy Blue Russian Sage – Plant en masse to add a blue Southwest drift of color to the landscape. The perfect alternative to lavender in cottage gardens or along fence lines. Its casual character is equally suited for wild gardens amidst rock outcroppings and large boulders. Outstanding at edges of dry stream beds with wildflowers. Animal proof!
DayLily – A sensational, award-winning selection that blooms with massive clusters of large flowers. If spent flower stalks are removed, the newest mountain varieties re-bloom freely into early fall. This easy plant forms neat, compact foliage clumps.
English Lavender is used to scent linens, sachets, and potpourris for an effortless touch of class to any home. Even gardeners with no interest in such domesticity grow lavender to “class up” their landscape, patio, and decks. A sun worshiper, lavender grows to knee height, is animal-proof, and only killed by too much water.
Saucer Coreopsis – This orange perennial is a desirable substitute for annual marigolds; it’s the same color and similar shape. Perfect for ‘wanna be’ gardeners with black thumbs because it is tough as nails and reseeds for a natural wildflower look.
Giga Blue Pincushion Flower – is the largest of the pincushion flowers found with exquisite violet flowers. The 2-inch blooms arise on stiff, upright stems above a small, naturally compact mound of finely cut foliage. Butterflies are naturally drawn to the honey scent.
Jupiter’s Beard (Centranthus) has globular clusters of fragrant, bright carmine flowers complemented by sedum blue foliage. Blooms for an extremely long season in poor, dry soils, spreading like wild poppy and penstemon. Deer and rabbit proof.
Mexican Primrose – The worse treatment this pink bloom gets, the better it blooms. Tromp on it, mow it and forget to water this perennial for summer-long color. A super tough ground cover.
Passionate Rainbow Gaura bears a profusion of rose flowers from spring to fall. Its variegated foliage of green leaves, white margins, and pink tones is as charming as its blooms. The 2′ tall plant has excellent tolerances to heat and drought. Hummingbirds love to visit each flower in rock gardens, borders, and containers.
Red Hot Poker (Kniphofia uvaria) is most aptly named. The standard red hot poker grows to a height of 3′ feet with red and yellow cylindrical flowers. A dwarf Popsicle series found at Watters Garden Center grows just 18″ inches in Mango, Redhot, and Pineapple colors. This bloomer loves blistering hot sun, wind, and neglect that javelina dislikes.
Walkers Low Catmint– More than just a little herb for the cat to frolic, it gained cult status when this variety was named 2018 Perennial Plant of the Year. Stunning blue leaves complement a natural border, and bees delight in the nectar-rich violet blooms. Plants grow knee-high but have a prostrate habit used often as a ground cover. Javelina, deer, and rabbits find this plant utterly detestable!
Moonshine Yarrow is an herb that blooms summer through fall on 1′ foot long stems. The native species blooms in yellow, but the plant is so happy in Arizona we continuously introduce new colors like pink, paprika, white, and red. Grown as a medicinal, yarrow was used to staunch the flow of blood. It likes to be deadheaded, fed regularly with ‘Flower Power,’ and given lots of sun. Yarrow is noted for repelling Arizona rattlesnakes.
Until next issue, I’ll be helping locals choose the prettiest flowers for summer gardens here at Watters Garden Center.