Don’t let the scorching weather we’ve been having stop you from enjoying your garden this summer. Early mornings and evenings are great times to do a bit of maintenance. If your catmints (Nepeta), hardy geraniums, and perennial salvias are sprawling, for instance, cut them back to within a few inches of the ground and give them a good soaking. They’ll quickly regrow into neat mounds of new leaves and maybe even more flowers for fall. That trick works well for freshening up post-bloom daylilies, too.
Want to add some wow factor to your July garden? Think big with some super-sized flowers and foliage. If you’ve been over to see the Formal Garden recently, you’ve probably noticed the towering lily stems rising above the other perennials. These big beauties are coming into bloom now, filling the whole area with fragrance. And look at the trunks on these ‘Conca d’Or’ plants—little wonder they’re sometimes known as “tree lilies.” If you’ve avoided growing lilies because you hate staking to keep them upright, you really need to give these glorious Orienpet Hybrids a try (and yes, we have them for sale)!
Does your yard have a low spot that tends to stay damp even in summer? Instead of struggling to keep the weeds at bay, consider filling it with the bold foliage of Himalayan rhubarb (Rheum australe). This dramatic perennial grows in a broad clump of lush leaves, easily filling a space 4 to 6 feet across. This time of year, it also sends up towering spikes of starry, reddish purple flowers.
Himalayan rhubarb is rarely available in nurseries—especially in large pots—but Jerry managed to find a few on one of his Vermont trips. We have one planted in the upper part of our new Rain Garden so you can see what it looks like in the landscape, and there are a couple available in the shade area next to the greeting barn. They’ll go quickly, so grab yours now!
For pure flower power, it’s hard to beat hydrangeas. Take a walk through the gardens at Linden Hill to admire them in a variety of settings—and don’t miss the crisp white blossoms of ‘Tardiva’ showing off now in the Island Bed next to the parking lot. We have a variety of top-notch selections available for sale, too, including the classic ‘Limelight peegee hydrangea (Hydrangea paniculata) and lacy blue ‘Blue Bird’ mountain hydrangea (H. serrata).
Don’t think you have room for a full-sized shrub? Check out pink-tinged ‘Little Quick Fire’ or bright white ‘Little Lime’ peegee hydrangeas: Both reach just 3 to 5 feet tall—about a third of the size of the species. Jerry couldn’t resist adding a bunch of ‘Little Lime’ to the bed in front of the office this spring, but we still have some nice-sized containers available.
Another colorful shrub that works well in summer borders is butterfly bush (Buddleia). We have a number of cultivars for sale, in a range of colors and sizes to suit any sunny site. If you enjoy making beautiful plant partnerships, you have to give ‘Bicolor’ butterfly bush (Buddleia x weyeriana) a try. This hybrid has purple buds that open to peachy pink to raspberry pink florets with orange centers, providing plenty of opportunities for creating outstanding color echoes, as in the combination shown above with ‘Bicolor’ butterfly bush, ‘Blue Paradise’ summer phlox (Phlox paniculata), and Mellow Yellow spirea (Spiraea thunbergii ‘Ogon’).
The gardens at Linden Hill are looking fantastic right now, and the nursery is filled with lots of beautiful plants for sale, so be sure to come over for a visit. And if you’ve ever wished you could get hands-on in our beds and borders, now’s your chance: We have opportunities available for garden helpers. Call the office at 610-847-1300 or stop in for details. While you’re here, don’t forget to take a walk down to the pond, because the lotuses are amazing right now. We look forward to seeing you!