In the Garden: No-fail Flowers


As my spring enthusiasm for gardening now wanes, I gain greater appreciation for the prolific catmint, self-seeding cleomes and hardy sedums still blooming in the dog days of summer. These plants basically take care of themselves and don’t mind if I forget to water, fertilize or even deadhead them.  I’m making notes to add more of two types – self-seeders and heat-tolerant varieties – to next year’s garden.

Heat-Tolerant Perennials

Check out several of these heat-loving perennials at local garden centers.  Fall is a great time for planting perennials and taking advantage of late season discounts on these plants.

* Russian sage—Shrub perennials with gray-green leaves topped with bunches of dusty-lavender flowers

* Daylily—Available in 35,000 varieties

* Yarrow—Fernlike, gray-green foliage and flat-topped clusters of flowers

* Ornamental grasses—Four-season interest with choices ranging from bright red blood grass to variegated Japanese silver grass.

* Catmint—Reliable and versatile, this plant forms a mound of sage green leaves topped by sprays of tiny lavender-blue flowers. After a big flush of flowers in May and June, catmint re-blooms in late summer.

* Yellow archangel—Spreading groundcover with small yellow flowers and silvery leaves

* Sedum—Structural, fleshy leaves, varying from gray-green to blue-green and even burgundy with star-shaped flowers.

Self-Seeding Annuals

Self-sowing annuals delight gardeners as “volunteers” unexpectedly reappear the following season from seeds left behind. These self-sowing annuals will weave their way though the garden, year after year, giving it a natural appearance.  For best results, remember to stop deadheading by the middle of August to give the seeds time to ripen, dry out and fall to the ground. Try alyssum, bachelor’s buttons (cornflower), California poppy, coreopsis (annual), cosmos, forget-me-nots, gloriosa daisy, larkspur, moss rose (portulaca), sunflower (helianthus), love-in-a-mist, dill, nasturtium, marigolds and spider flower (cleome).

Teresa Woodard is a volunteer with the Madison County Master Gardeners. Questions and gardening news items are welcomed at or 740-852-0809.

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