The Longest Lasting Color in the Garden


It’s the Holy Grail of gardening, isn’t it?

That plant that blooms and blooms and blooms all summer long.

Over the years, I have mostly given up on it, deciding such a thing doesn’t really exist. I’ve accepted the notion of the gardener as a conductor of a symphony, planting layers of plants so that color and flower come in waves through the year.

I do still believe that we are conductors in our gardens. And I do still believe in orchestrating a garden that pleases us as much as possible all year long.

But this year I have also discovered that some plants really do give and give and give, month after month.

Here are five plants that have surprised me this summer with their continuous bloom:


  • Agastache ‘Peachie Keen’: This agastache variety is new to me this year. I planted quite a few of them as very small plugs in the new border outside my kitchen. I have been absolutely astonished at how quickly they grew and how they have flowered all summer with the prettiest peach-colored flowers. I feel as if I’ve found a miracle plant.


  • Calamintha nepeta: This is another new-to-me plant. I bought a tray of small seedlings labeled as the variety ‘White Cloud,’ but either the plants were mislabeled or ‘White Cloud’ sometimes flowers lavender-blue. Online sources advise shearing back the spreading plants after they flower, but mine haven’t stopped flowering all summer long.


  • Verbena bonariensis: Of course, I must mention this favorite. Summer after summer, I am amazed at how beautiful this plant is all season long. Even after the vivid purple flowers fade a bit, the seedheads look beautiful in fall.


  • Dahlia ‘Happy Single First Love’: Though I have grown various dahlias for years, this variety is new to me this summer. I planted several in the new kitchen border. It looked amazing early in the summer as the dark, perfect foliage grew in. The leaves are almost black and add beautiful shadows to the border. Then these dahlias started blooming before any of my other dahlias were in flower, and they show no signs of stopping. I am keeping them deadheaded as flowers fade, but I think they will keep-on-keeping-on.


  • Miscanthus sinensis ‘Morning Light’: None of the pictures I found in books or online prepared me for how lovely this medium-sized ornamental grass is. The foliage is silvery green and white and absolutely shines. It makes everything planted nearby look better.


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Posted on

August 6, 2020

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