An unapologetic plant geek shares advice and opinions on gardening, the contrived and the natural landscape, as well as occasional topics from the other side of the gate.

August 11, 2008

Bloom Day - Hot Colors for the Hottest Month

I guess anywhere in the northern hemishpere, August is going to be the hottest month. For this month's Bloom Day I thought I would feature hot colors, which are my favorite. I usually try to plant a good number of annuals to carry me through our long summers, and they have to be able to take the heat. For foliage color, I always plant Margarite Sweet Potato Vine, Sun Coleus and Purple Setcresia (which has been perennial for me lately). For flower color I usually plant a few of the same things every year, but I always try something new with varying degrees of success.

Impatiens are a given for shade, but I am getting tired of their relentless need for water, and these are just under the porch roof and get very little rain.

One annual that has made my plant-every-year list is Profusion Zinnia. Once they kick in, they bloom non stop, without deadheading, until they are pulled out in the late fall. This one is Profusion Orange and ...

... below is Profusion Fire.
I can not say enough nice things about Lantana. I wrote a small article for the company E-newsletter on the plant and read more than anyone would care to know about the topic. Even though it is highly invasive in some parts of the world, that is not a problem in areas that have a winter. The first one I bought was reliable Miss Huff, which is very hardy for us, but give her plenty of room.
New Gold is sold as an annual and last year I had three, and this one came back.
I am not sure which one this is.
Here is a whiskey barrel I planted at work with Confetti Lantana, Purple Angelonia, Chili Willi Peppers, Angelina Sedum, Creeping Jenny and a thornless Opuntia.
This is Tiki Torch Coneflower and it is the first Coneflower I have bought in years. When all of the new varieties were coming out, I tried several and all of them died. The species comes up voluntarily for me every year and they take a lot of abuse and still thrive. I told myself that I would not plant another named variety, but when I saw this color I forgot all about that. My apologies to Benjamin in The Deep Middle for showing yet another Coneflower cultivar. If you follow the link you can read what he had to say about the topic back in March. Here is a Dahlia that has come back for me twice.
Hypericum does not normally rebloom for me, but this one is putting out again.
I also rely on houseplants and tropicals to fill in the late summer gap. This is just a Crown of Thorns, but it is the only red flower that my camera could capture without excessive saturation. What is it with red flowers and digital cameras?
Not so much hot as warm is the Pat Austin rose. This was a warranty return from customers who bring back way too many plants. I told them there was nothing wrong with it and if they had given it more water it would have been happier. I took it home just to prove them wrong. I hope they read my blog.
Thanks once again to Carol at May Dream Gardens for organizing a fine mid-month party. Pay her a visit and see what other gardeners are growing.


  1. Love the color of that echinacea. I sure wouldn't mind seeing more echinacea pictures. They're one of my favorite plants. Nice bloom day post

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  3. The container plantings are incredible, Les. I love hot colors, much to the dismay of some of my more "cultured" garden friends around here. My thinking is that they "read" so much better in our hot sunshine than pastels, but maybe it's just my eyes. Love that Pat Austin - I've had lots of Austin roses, but not that one. Mine are mostly from the "Graham Thomas" and "Heritage" time period, and I still like those two, despite their short- (I should say "tall-", in the case of GT!) comings.

    Could the redder of the Lantanas be 'Star Landing'? I've been seeing that one a lot lately and really like it.

    I've only ever returned one plant to a nursery (might have been yours, come to think of it!) - a Choisya ternata, many years ago, which croaked within two weeks from what I now suspect was Phytophthera or Rhizoctonia. Back then I just knew it was completely dead. I'm sure that's an annoying aspect of the business, anyway; you're nice to even consider taking back a plant that still has some life left in it!

  4. JUST a Crown of Thorns? Mine may be my favorite, just because it's still blooming on the darkest days of January (right, inside, but nothing seems to phase it as long as I don't let it freeze). I love the colors--wouldn't you know I got a little behind on the Liquid Fence and the deer nipped all the lantana blossoms two days ago--fortunatley they didn't hurt the plant. Did you ever see the movie "Lantana"? As I recall, the lantana made a huge hedge--a hedge big enough to hide a body . . .Anyway, beautiful flowers and beautiful pictures as always. I'm going to go look for a zinnia or two.

  5. Lovely blooms, I like the choice of colors. It matches "August", doesn't it?

    Thanks for joining in for bloom day!
    Carol, May Dreams Gardens

  6. Lovely blooms; I'm more a pastel person myself, but seeing your hot colors, I may have to re-think this. The Profusion series of zinnias are favorites of mine, too.

  7. Gintoio,
    Thanks for stopping by, and for the nice comments.

    I agree with you on the hot color topic. Pastels seem to fade away, especially in the sun. I don't fret over roses and Pat has done just fine. I am sure that the red Lantana is not 'Star Landing', but I am not sure what it is. I buy things and do not keep track of what they are - bad for a nurseryman. We have 'Star Landing' planted at work and it has been quite perennial for us, unfortunately it has not been easy to locate a grower. Sorry about your Choisya - I have become confinced that they are very iffy here.

    I noticed that Phil at Dirt Therapy put a Crown of Thorns on his post also.

    Thanks for stopping by. Do you visit everyone who posts a bloom day entry?

    I am not a pastel person, but I do appreciate it when they are done well. My backyard is much less colorful, mostly greens, var. foliage and white flowers. I need it to be more restful.

  8. Les, it all looks so beautiful for mid-August. Thanks for the link to your friend's blog. The implosion of coneflower petals had me laughing. I also use many of the plants you do. I don't know what I would do without Lantana for summer color. I haven't tried Tiki Torch, but I do want it. It would look great in the orange daylily bed and would continue the color after they were through.~~Dee

  9. I saw Tiki Torch at the NYBG a couple of weekends ago. It blew me away! I thought it was a Mexican Sunflower at first.

    Nice collection of stuff.