Drought tolerant perennials are popular these days, especially with those of you in the midst of a heat wave as we are here in Ontario. Even if you have an irrigation system, these hardy perennials should be a staple in your garden to avoid wasting your money on plants and water. Just be sure to place the hoses or plants (whichever you install last) strategically. For example, ornamental grasses (and most other drought tolerant plants) do not appreciate wet feet. In fact, the quickest way to kill them off is to overwater them.
Here are a few drought tolerant perennials that I rely on for hot summer color:
stonecrop and sedum, available in multiple colors, great for hot borders
lavender and spruce
If you haven’t already, consider adding some to your gardens, just be sure to wait until the heat wave is over to do so!
Wandering through my gardens this past weekend, I found these spring beauties…
magnolia blossoms and blue skies
golden elderberry shoots
white tulips (almost) in bloom
daffodils and tulips
white and purple tulips
white and purple tulips
plum tree blossoms
purple tulip ready to burst
yellow wood poppy
Spring is my favourite time of year. It has arrived a bit late here in Ottawa this year, but has finally arrived. You can see the exciting changes in the gardens daily as the bulbs burst into bloom and the perennials poke through the soil.
.As our fall weather was too nice to start garden cleanups and winter preparation, Gardens4u took on another garden project last week. This client lives on the same street as two other clients for whom I have recently reconstructed front gardens. This client wanted a smaller footprint for the new garden with plants that require no maintenance and stay tidy looking all season. I started by removing all of the existing plants, leaving the large rock as the focal point…
I replanted a ring of groundcover (lamium) around the tree to include the tree in the garden. I added heucherain various colors around the perimeter of the garden to define its new edge, including around the outer edges of the rock. Both of these inclusions make it easier for the lawnmower, removing the chore of trimming around the tree and rock. The large and overgrown clump of Solomon’s seal was dug out from around the rock. It was overpowering the rock and looked messy. In its place, I planted three different varieties of ornamental grass. These were strategically placed around the edges of the rock. Two tall ones went at the corners closest to the house and a shorter one at the front, outer edge. This will draw the eye to the rock, making it an integral part of the garden.
New plants included the heuchera, a dwarf shrub rose, a varigated and reblooming weigela, as well as several colorful and long blooming perennials. I reused a few daylilies, some (a very small portion) of the lamium, and none of the aggressive Solomon’s seal. Unused plants have been potted up in my ICU (home inventory of plants) for recycling (use in someone else’s gardens). Grass seed was sprinkled on the bare spots where the garden used to extend to. The grass seed should be well watered after the past few days of rainy weather. If the mild weather holds, the grass may even grow before spring.
The end result was a smaller, tidier garden between the rock and the tree. The client will have to wait until next summer, unfortunately, to fully appreciate the new look…
Unfortunately, this current week looks like our great weather is behind us. That means Gardens4u will be starting that cleanup and winterizing this morning after it warms up a bit. Cleanup is not nearly as much fun as designing a new garden project!
Here are the newest perennial blooms in my own zone 4 to 5 gardens this second week of August;
pale yellow roses
This ornamental grass is my favourite although it is only an annual here in zone 4 or 5. It makes a beautiful centerpiece for a container or it can be planted right in the garden!
Still strutting their stuff, these perennials are still looking great:
peach colored rose
On their way out (unfortunately) are my gorgeous lilies. They will return bigger and better than ever next year though! Every client I have planted some of these lily treesfor have commented on how spectacular they are, well worth the price.
I hope you are enjoying these weekly walks through my gardens…
These pictures are of Gardens4u’s most recent garden project:
All new plants are perennials, meaning they come back every year. All are pretty much maintenance free too, a common request from my clients these days. The brown cedar mulch helps keep moisture in and weeds out.
I can’t wait to see what the gardens look like by the end of summer when all of the perennials have settled into their new homes.
I have a passion for purple, especially when choosing flowers. It is such a vibrant colour with so many shades available. When my daughter-in-law decided she wanted shades of purple flowers in her bouquets and floral decorations, I was excited as I have lots of in my gardens. I even planted extra perennials just in case I didn’t have enough…
million bells and petunias
palest purple rose
Too bad many of them didn’t bloom in time for the weddingthanks to the wet and cool spring Mother Nature gifted us with this year. To improvise, I borrowed blossoms from my clients’ garden to supplement the ones I did have in bloom to make bouquets and flower arrangements.
For the past week (now almost two weeks after the wedding) my passion for purple has been blooming in profusion in my gardens!
Hurray, the garden centers in Ottawa are open for business, a sure sign of spring! One of my favourite signs of spring actually. These pictures were taken two weeks ago now when I spotted my first open garden center and could not resist stopping in…
Perennials can be planted any time now, as soon as the ground is thawed. Annuals should wait until after the last frost date for your time zone. Here in Ottawa, that is usually around the long weekend in May. If you plant your annuals earlier than that, cover them when frost is forecast or bring containers in overnight.
Contact me at GARDENS4U with any questions or if I can help you plan your garden.
Instead of “mirror, mirror on the wall”, I should say “gardens, gardens on my route, who’s the fairest of them all?” I know that “all” does not rhyme with “route”, but let me ensure you get the picture, literally…. Continue reading →
The best part of autumn is the awesome display of color in the trees and gardens. Our weather here in Ottawa has been spectacular, in fact so spectacular that I have put off preparing garden beds for the winter. All of my clients’ gardens are looking great with their late season displays…
…annuals are still going strong, in containers:
and in the gardens:
joe pye weed
late blooming perennials are still glorious:
pink monarda, yellow coneflowers & blue juniper
pink aster & wine ninebark
and ornamental grasses are at their showiest:
japanese blood grass
I hope we have a few more weeks of this awesome weather to enjoy the gardens before the cold weather hits.