The Garden’s Summer Grandeur

Roses, Hydrangea, Margerites
© BdB

There are many decorative woody perennials that will turn your garden into a real flower paradise during the warm months. By the time springtime’s colorful splendor of forsythia, ornamental cherry, and magnolia has passed, the magnificent flowering period for summer bloomers – hydrangea, clematis, and butterfly bush – has just begun.

Wisteria, Tree Peony, and Mock Oranges

It’s possible to enjoy a flowering garden all summer long, when the plants are combined accordingly. Wisteria, for example, is best for the first summer days. Grapevine-like flowers sweep from long branches, and the plant turns woody very quickly, making this climbing plant robust and winter hardy.

Another of summer’s early bloomers is tree peony (Paeonia suffruticosa). It reveals a burst of color from mid-May until the end of July. These beauties do best in a full sun or very partial-shade location. They won’t tolerate being waterlogged, so loosen the soil thoroughly and deeply before planting.

The mock oranges (Philadelphus) make for some lovely eye candy, with white flowers that blossom from June til July. They delight the nose, too, with a fragrance similar to lilacs. These plants don’t need much care and only have to be pruned every two or three years.


The hydrangea’s flowering period extends from June into September. Variations in color ranging from white to light or vivid pink, magenta, blue, and pastel blue emphasize that typical hydrangea look. For some varieties, it’s the pH-value and the presence of trace elements in the soil that determines flower color. Because the flowers retain their appearance when dried, they make an attractive element well into wintertime.
One of the most popular types is French hydrangea. Garden centers offer a wide assortment of other types, however: mountain hydrangea, Sargent’s hydrangea, rough-leaved hydrangea, and many more. Some have a compact growth habit, others become large shrubs. They also differ in their flower shape.
The smooth hydrangea cultivar ‘Annabelle’ is one of the snowball types, known for its bright white, ball-shaped flowers.

Butterfly Bush and Clematis

Butterfly bush (Buddleja) might appear to be a lilac, but it’s not, and actually doesn’t blossom in spring at all, but from July to October. Whether as a 3-foot tall shrub or a small, single-stemmed flowering tree, butterfly bush enriches the home garden with white, orange, pink, or deep purple-colored panicles. It’s known as butterfly bush because its fragrance lures them in to feed on nectar. 

Climbing plants like clematis offer an abundance of vibrantly colored flowers. Trailing up a wall, trellis, or fence, they’re a great way to round out a summery garden atmosphere. It’s said that clematis likes “its feet in the shade.” When planting, make sure that the root area is shielded from strong sun, with a groundcover, for example.

Plant during Flowering

Most summer bloomers are sold in containers and so can be planted almost any time of year; you can now select plants in full bloom. Getting plants in the ground while they’re flowering is a good idea, since it gives roots enough time to grow strong before winter. With freshly planted flowering shrubs, however, you will need to water regularly.

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