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Don't Let Summer Heat Wilt Your Enthusiasm in the Garden

Roger H. Goun
Creative Commons/Flickr

For many of us, the sweltering summer heat is tough to endure. But KUNC Gardener Tom Throgmorton reminds us that many tasty vegetables and eye-catching flowers love the heat, and can provide a beautiful splash of color in the garden.

I know it feels like we’ve already been through the heat of summer. But the calendar says it’s mid-July.

Some showy perennials bloom in the July and August heat. Some are natives like coneflower and black-eyed-susan. Others are good old fashion perennials like Shasta daisy. They all love the heat. They are moderate to low water users. And they grow from the plains to the high country.

A black-eyed-susan to try commemorates the 150th anniversary of the City of Denver. Denver Daisy is a Plant Select introduction. It grows at least eighteen inches tall. It’s a profuse bloomer. I think it blooms so much it uses all of its energy and sometimes doesn’t come back the following spring. The flowers have dark brown centers and bright yellow outer petals. The flowers attract butterflies. It is a moderate water user.

Another Plant Select perennial is Kanna Creek Buckwheat. It is a spreading multi-season plant. It has yellow spring flowers that turn orange and russet this time of year. It has blue-green semi-evergreen leaves. It will grow from the plains up to 10,000 feet elevation. Kanna Creek is a low water user.

A perennial I find difficult to grow is Chocolate Flower. It is a low water user that likes sun. I made the mistake of planting it in part shade and it didn’t survive. I’ve over watered it, too. It doesn’t like that either. It likes heat and neglect. The yellow flowers bloom all summer on about a foot tall plant. And the flowers do smell like chocolate.

Agastache or hyssop is a summer heat bloomer. There are a lot of hyssops to choose from. Some are hardier than others. But they are all worth a try. The flower colors vary from orange to purple. Some have large grey leaves and others have thin thread leaves. They all attract butterflies and hummingbirds. They create a backdrop for late summer and autumn blooming borders.

I think we’re still in for a few weeks of hot weather. Tomatoes, peppers and corn love the heat. And these heat loving perennials keep color in the garden.


Tom has been offering garden advice on KUNC for almost two decades. During that time he has been the wholesale sales manager at Ft. Collins Nursery, Inc. Since January of 2005 he has been the owner and operator of Throgmorton Plant Management, LLC., a landscape installation and maintenance company as well as a horticultural consulting firm. He lives in northern Ft. Collins with his wife and two kids.
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