Here in Southwest Georgia, this month is often called “the heart of our summer.” This is when the temperature and humidity are both high. July is usually our wettest month.
Red, white, blue
It is too late to plant a patriotic flower bed, but you can buy some pots of red, white and blue flowers to make festive patio planters and enjoy Independence Day all month.
Red and white flowers are easy to find, but here are some blue ones to consider: agapanthus (lily of the Nile), blue daze, blue fringe daisy, cardinal flower, geranium, hydrangea, lobelia, million bells, periwinkle (vinca), plumbago, rose (Blue Girl Hybrid Tea Rose, available through Gurney’s Seed and Nursery Company), Rose of Sharon (Blue Bird Rose of Sharon, Michigan Bulb Company) and salvia.
Without making an extensive search, I found cardinal flowers, geraniums, hibiscus (Rose of Sharon, above), hydrangeas, million bells, roses (see above) and salvia in red, white and blue varieties.
Three suggestions for patriotic beds and planters are 1) red geraniums, white alyssum and blue ageratum; 2) red salvia, white petunias and blue lobelia; and 3) red snapdragons, white heliotrope and blue ageratum. Placement of these and any other plants mentioned above is important; for example, tall plants and shrubs need to be in the back or in the center.
Taking the heat
There are many flowers that can take summer’s sizzle and new varieties keep appearing. Some of our favorite summer annuals and perennials are begonia, butterfly bush, various dailies, day lily, various gingers, impatiens, lantana, mandevilla, melampodium, pentas, periwinkle, plumbago, rudbeckia, sun-loving coleus, salvia, verbena and zinnia.
Fellow Rambler Rose Garden Club member Nancy McCollum, reminds us that Fred Dietrich, the hummingbird guru from Tallahassee, says that hummer (digestive) systems CANNOT PROCESS artificial food coloring. He went on to say that if we ever saw the tangled red mass in the digestive system of a dissected hummer, as he has, we would never be tempted to add red food color again.” I hope that you will take this to heart, as I have (after half a century of unknowingly committing this sin against my favorite birds).
In this month’s heat, feeders should be cleaned frequently to prevent algae from forming and nectar from fermenting. Hungry hummers can easily empty a feeder in two or three days; if your feeder is not empty after five days, it is time to clean it and replenish its nectar.