Spruce Up Your Summer


Summer is in full-swing and if you’re looking to spruce up your garden with color and variety, here are some of the latest popular options.

Karen McKie of Green Oak Florist and Nursery says, “You have angelonias, which are purple and white and sometimes pink; purslane, a succulent low-growing plant with vibrant colors that doesn’t require much water; vinka, a pretty blue periwinkle, which can come as upright or trailing; and tropicals like hibiscus and bougainvillea.”

These plants are unafraid of the heat, making them good choices for a garden entrenched in humid Mississippi summer. If you’re looking to fill your shady spots, try asparagus fern, caladiums, impatiens, dragonwing begonias, and hostas. 

Asparagus fern adds some fluff to your garden, while a variety of impatiens called sunpatiens add bold colors and longevity during the warmest of seasons. Hostas are popular because they come in a variety of colors. They have little spikes of flowers, but their eye-catching leaves are what attracts people to them. 

Evergreen grass is a good choice for the shade too, along with carex grass. While technically an ornamental grass, carex is good for shade and grows long and graceful with proper care. Sunshine ligustrum is a bright yellow shrub that will grow four feet tall. Tough and easy to grow in a pot, the sunshine ligustrum adds color and height to your beds. 

The gaura plant is nicknamed the “whirling butterfly” because its long waving limbs resemble butterflies flying in your garden. This happy little perennial comes with airy stalks that can handle the worst of conditions and remain a lovely red and pink. 

“The vitex tree is popular right now,” says McKie. “It grows along Canton Road and everybody wants to know what it is because it’s so different.” The vitex tree is easy to grow; plant it this summer and water vigorously to watch its voluminous spikes blossom into purple. Another popular plant right now is the ligularia, a sunny yellow flower that flourishes in the shade. The ligularia comes with a tractor seat-shaped leaf, earning its nickname: the tractor seat plant.

As for plants to avoid this summer, there is one. “Do not plant hydrangeas right now,” McKie advised. “They are thirsty plants who do not like the constant heat.”

With plenty of sun and shade-loving flowers and plants to decorate your beds this summer, you will find no end of creative ways to bring your garden to life.