Regional Gardening Reports :: National Gardening Association

In the Garden:
Middle South
May, 2001
Regional Report

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Dusty miller and 'Pink Wave' petunias can give the garden a cool feel on hot summer days.

Cool Colors for Hot Summers

We've already had a couple of hot spells, and there's much more to come. To cool us down during our hot summer we can head to the closest creek or swimming pool. To cool down the garden, try growing plants that emphasize cool colors. Plants with soft pink, blue, white, and gray flowers give a cool feel to beds. Plus, finding strong-growing flowers that stand up to our high heat is easier than ever.

Icy Grays and Brisk Blues

Dusty miller, with its frosty gray leaves, is a summer essential in my garden. Its cool look can be counted on to calm down brighter colors such as rambunctious oranges and rowdy reds. Yet I think dusty miller is at its best in the company of pink flowers such as 'Pink Wave' petunia.

For summer blue, consider growing blue sage (Salvia farinacea). It's a short-lived perennial in our climate. If you don't like the spiky form of blue sage's flowers, try the low-growing, sprawling fan flower (Scaevola). Although fan flower is usually grown in containers, it's great in beds, too. For a compact blue flower to edge a bed, look no further than ageratum.

The Prettiest Pinks

Inexhaustible 'Pink Wave' and 'Misty Lilac Wave' petunias never run out of flower power. Pink gomphrenas such as 'Bicolor Rose' stand tall through the late-summer drought and make carefree fresh or dried cut flowers. Pink pentas and pink angelonia are other less common annual beauties to look for. Of course, there's always pink or lilac annual vinca, which blooms nonstop through the worst weather summer can bring.

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