Many assume that once the growing season starts, plants are on constant display. If you live in an area where winter brings constant snow and lack of foliage, any live growth might seem like a display and this might be true. But the reality is, there are always natural lulls of excitement in most gardens across the country. One time where a lull often occurs is in the late spring and early summer. This is because the plants that explode with growth early on begin to fade in the late spring, while the later season bloomers are still developing for their summer show. But there are some wonderful exceptions.
Put on a seamless show in your garden with our list of plants that make the transition from spring into summer. You'll be a happy gardener with these plants.
- Roses: Throughout most of the country, shrub roses are wonderful flowering shrubs that really shine in the late spring through the rest of the summer. Many overlook roses for landscape plantings, because of their bad reputation for being difficult to grow and maintain. This just isn’t true for many of the wonderful new landscape-ready rose shrubs available now.
- The Knockout series of roses are a wonderful example. We especially love the double pink Knockout rose shrub. With minimal care, this disease resistant and dense growing shrub will bloom profusely from June until frost, which carries the garden from the spring display into the warm days of summer.
- The Drift Rose series is another disease resistant and landscape ready dwarf rose shrub. They make a wonderful perennial for the front of the border for easy color that transition from spring into summer seamlessly. Apricot drift rose is a lighter pink version of the Drift family and has a more old fashioned appearance. The flowers are more than double, like the old English roses. This color is also harmonious within most landscape schemes and fits in well just about anywhere.
- If you have a larger landscape space to cover and need some beautiful late spring coverage fast, try a rose from the OSO Easy line. One of the most popular is the super fragrant pink Oso Easy spreader rose. This rose is great to plant on difficult slopes where it can spread out and cover. Spreading to almost 10 feet but with a very short height of less than 2 feet, this is a perfect ground cover rose choice too. Plus, this rose requires no pruning (every few years some rejuvenation pruning would be good but it’s not a necessity) and is highly resistant to disease. Try mixing this rose among a backdrop of Munstead lavender on a difficult sunny slope, and enjoy the mix of beautiful fragrance from the spring throughout the summer.
- The Julia Child rose is a wonderful heavy petaled bright yellow rose that is named after the famous chef Julia Child. Much like her life spent bringing Americans the wonderful world of French cooking, this wonderful rose brings home gardens the flavor of exquisite color and performance. Unforgettable, this small to medium-sized shrub is a great long flowering shrub in the landscape. While many of the great landscape roses the Julia Child rose grows more upright than out, adding another dimension to the landscape that also brings late spring color when early spring fades and carries the landscape into summer.
- Mentioned above, lavender is a wonderful companion in the garden with roses, and many types of lavender are also excellent for late spring, early summer blooms. In fact, there are several kinds of lavender, all with different bloom times. For example, Mediterranean lavenders tend to be earlier spring bloomers and last into the middle of spring. For lavenders that bloom during the transition from spring into summer, look to English lavenders.
- Hidcote is one example of English lavender that blooms in the late spring and carries what is considered one of the best sources for pure lavender fragrance. Hidcote blue lavender plant is grown as a crop where it’s made into oils and other products that are used in bath products, cleaners, natural medicines, perfumes, and other products that require the best lavender scent. In the garden, this is a smaller growing lavender which is perfect for the front of the perennial border. Its compact growth is excellent for formal edging.
- Munstead is a larger lavender than Hidcote but carries the same excellent quality in fragrance, and is also perfect for edible use as well as other uses. Try Munstead lavender in a more natural setting that’s dry and drains fast. It’s also highly attractive to bees, making it an essential in the garden.
- For a more extended bloom time among your lavenders while enjoying the late spring English types.
- There are some blooming trees that will put on a great show after the cherries and crabapples have finished. One of the best is the Kousa Dogwood. Happy in areas where it’s a little more shaded, this flowering dogwood brightens up a dark corner with its late spring display of big white blooms. On top of the spring show, its trunk and stem form is a wonderful architectural addition to the landscape, and the fall brings beautiful color of purples and reds. And finally, bright red berries persist into the winter, which feed birds and make the winter landscape merry. A landscape must!
- And finally, this amazing daylily mix can be grown throughout the country- from the coldest parts of the north down into the warm south. Starting in late spring and continuing through summer, this mix is very impressive!
There are other plants that make the late spring transition a wonderful one, and we hope you enjoy these suggestions too. Add these to your gardening landscape and you’ll quickly enjoy a long season of constant life and color from spring through summer!