Choosing garden flowers that bloom all summer

The best flowering gardens display continuous blossoms, all season long. Continuously blooming flowers in your garden can be accomplished in two ways. One is to read up on the blooming cycle of the plants you want to add to your garden, choosing varieties of plants with staggered bloom times. The second way to have flowers blooming all season long is to plant flowers with long bloom times (up to 12 weeks). Take that second option one step further by using perennials, and you will have a lovely garden year after year.

There are lots of perennial flowers to choose that will continue blooming all summer long. Three great choices to start with are the perennials shown in the picture to the left of the article title. In that small flower bed you will see moonbeam coreopsis (yellow flower in the front), Russian sage (wispy lavender blue-colored plants, and purple coneflower (Echinacea).

Coreopsis self-seeds so by purchasing a minimal number of plants, within a few years, you will have twice as many plants growing. In addition to yellow (moonbeam), coreopsis comes in pink and red. The plant grows to 12-18 inches.

Russian sage has a tendency to droop from its own weight. That's not necessarily a bad thing, just something you should know as it needs shorter plants in the area to droop over. Russian sage is lavender blue and can grow to four feet in height. I keep mine pruned to three feet. Clippings look great with other flowers in a vase.

Purple coneflower, also known as Echinacea, is a tall daisy-like flower in a pinkish-purple color. The flower produces lots of seeds, multiplying quickly. Purple coneflower can grow up to four feet and makes a great flower for a bouquet.

Other options for continuous color in your flower garden are royal candles or midnight salvia. Both plants produce purple-indigo spikes of blooms. Clip or pinch them off after they bloom to encourage more blooms. Each is bushy and grows to a height of 1-1.5 feet.

To add some bright color to your garden, try torch lily. This one can grow up to five feet high and three feet wide. Its brilliant orange and yellow spirals of color on a long stem are eye catching.

For white highlights in your garden, look for snowflake catmint. Snowflake catmint can grow up to 15 inches wide and tall, making it a perfect mid-level plant to hide the long stems of taller plants. It's fragrant too and is self-seeding!

An interesting flower sure to add curb appeal to your house is homestead purple. This plant can grow to 18 inches high, but expands out a lot, up to three feet. It's a spectacle to see in bloom as the color changes in bright sun from rose to purple.

An easy care plant is corydalis. Growing up to 15 inches high and wide, this plant produces yellow stick-like drooping blossoms that add subtle color.