Create a Sprawling Garden: Summer Flowers for Beginners

After highlighting summer crops in last month’s edition of Create a Sprawling Garden, Tree Classics will now take a look at four lovely flowers that are perfect for beginners. Not only are these blooms easy to grow. They also handle the extreme heat of summer very well.

1. Red Valerian

Most other plants wither under the summer sun, but the red valerian thrives in such conditions. In fact, this drought-resistant plant can exist in just about any condition except for wet climates. Originally from the Mediterranean region, red valerians are now commonly found in most western states such as California, Arizona, Utah, Oregon, and Hawaii.

Depending on how you look at it, the self-sowing seeds of the red valerian can either be a convenience or a nuisance. If you don’t want them to overpopulate your garden, make sure you deadhead your red valerian before the next bloom. A bi-weekly watering schedule and some bone meal placed in the soil should also be enough to take care of this summer bloom.

Let red valerians cascade from an elevation or grow along paths, rough slopes, and steep banks. Their lasting blooms enliven any dull and listless garden.

Red Valerian
Photo from M Hillier via flickr. CC BY 2.0

 

2. Moonbeam Coreopsis

The moonbeam coreopsis flourishes even in the brightest of daylight. You can plant this perennial flower in average or poor soil and it will still blossom radiantly. Because of its endurance, the moonbeam coreopsis is ideal for gardens in humid states, such as Florida, Alabama, and Arkansas.

As with most summer plants, this coreopsis cultivar does not require too much attention. One thing to note, though, is that for the moonbeam to bloom without hassle, you must regularly prune the flowers right after they fade. You can do this for a few times during the summer, and then allow the plant to go to seed at season’s end to reproduce new ones.

The pale yellow bloom of the moonbeam coreopsis adds contrast to the large leaves typical of perennials. Use the moonbeam coreopsis to balance the rich purples and blues of other blooms.

Moonbeam
Photo from F. D. Richards via flickr. CC BY 2.0

 

3. Daisy Fleabane

Native to the West Coast, fleabanes are considered one of the most durable summer flowers. It regularly blooms all throughout the harshest conditions of the season, from June to September.

In planting your daisy fleabanes, keep an eye out for “legginess.” It is a condition in which the plants do not get enough sunlight. They grow long thin stems that do not stand upright. When this happens, cut off these plants and remove them from under the shade.

If you’re looking for flowers to place in front of stone walls, then daisy fleabanes are for you. The slender ray petals give a splash of vibrancy to the naturally bland color of stone. Also, the long stalks make these cultivars a classic choice for flower arrangements.

Daisy Fleabane
Photo from wackybadger via flickr. CC BY 2.0

 

4. Goblin Blanket Flower

Also known as the kobold, the goblin blanket flower can withstand arid climate and, with enough leaf mulch, remain in bloom through winter. Similar to other summer flowers, it can survive even on low-quality soil as long as it has good drainage. If you plant them in moist garden loam, the stems tend to grow too far apart.

True to its namesake, the goblin blanket flower has an unusual way of growing. Unlike other plants that develop better in rich soil, this flower benefits more from thriving on poor earth. It is not advisable to enrich the soil by adding compost or other fertilizers. Goblin blanket flowers also do not grow properly in heavy clay.

The dark maroon center and golden yellow tips of the petals give the goblin a sunny appeal. Baring some striking resemblance to the sunflower, it also has a wide bloom that ranges from three to four inches. When planting the goblin in a group, you can place it beside taller flowers with warm tones.

Goblin
Photo from Sarah Korf via flickr. CC BY 2.0

Flowers have a unique way of enlivening any space. Try planting these colorful summer blooms to help you define the aesthetics of your outdoors.

Create a Sprawling Garden: Summer Crops for Beginners

July is almost here! The warm weather is setting the stage for an amazing harvest. But are you having trouble jumpstarting your own summer garden? Even if you’re still figuring out how to till the soil and prep your seeds or seedlings, it’s not yet too late for you to create a sprawling summer garden that looks professionally made. Tree Classics recommends four hassle-free (well, relatively hassle-free) crops that flourish this season. So let’s get diggin’!

String Beans and Green Beans

Our favorite would have to be snap beans, otherwise known as string beans and green beans. They are best grown in warm soil as they decay easily in damp dirt. You need not dig deep when sowing them in since they have shallow roots. Growing them an inch deep and three inches apart is fine. Place them in a spot that gets a lot of sunshine. Water them once they start to sprout but don’t let the soil turn overly moist. Allow the plants to continue sprouting throughout the season by regularly picking the mature beans.

Eggplants

 

Another summer crop that loves the full sunlight is the eggplant. Our favorite would have to be the rich dark purple Asian variety because they add so much color to a summer garden. Grow this crop in a fertile area where you had not grown eggplants a year before. You can grow the seeds indoors first before planting them in containers outside when the weather starts to warm. Remember to water the eggplants generously.

Tomatoes

Always a favorite during the summer, tomatoes have different varieties to suit any dish this season. For beginning gardeners who love fresh salads, Tree Classics recommends growing cherry tomatoes. Unlike other varieties, cherry tomatoes enjoy just a moderate amount of sunshine and can be grown in containers. Water them generously at the base of the plant. Harvest your cherry tomatoes once they have turned bright red orange and firm.

Cucumbers

 

One summer crop that requires both full sunlight and constant moisture is the cucumber. Whether you’re growing slicers that are best served fresh or picklers that are best preserved, you will find cucumbers to be an essential part of a sprawling summer garden because of the beautiful way their vines grow. If you want them to crawl out gloriously, set up a trellis in your garden. If you’re more of a practical gardener, you can also plant them by making mounds or rows with drip irrigation. Water them well as cucumbers turn bitter when they lose moisture.

Summer is the best time to get your hands dirty even if you’re just starting out as a home gardener.