July is high summer in the northern hemisphere, and the flower garden is filled with specimens in full bloom. Many varieties of flowers begin blooming much earlier in the season, but a few hot-weather-loving varieties are just getting started in the hot summer weather.
Grown from a corm, gladiolus (Gladiolus communis spp.) are native to warm-weather areas. Each bulb, or corm, sends up a single flower stalk. Large trumpet-shaped flowers open in a double row from the bottom up along this stalk, even after picking. Gladiolus comes in all colors except true blue. Their large spikes create additional interest in a large bouquet of flowers. Massed in a large vase alone, a bouquet of as little as a half-dozen gladiolus stems is suitable for use in a large formal entryway of a home or in a reception area of a business office.
Available in a wide range of colors, flower types and sizes, zinnias (Zinnia elegans) are one of the most popular annual flowers. The are frost-tender and should not be planted outdoors until after all danger of frost has past. They grow fast, however, and usually bloom within a few weeks of setting out transplants or slightly longer from seed. Give zinnias at least the spacing recommended on the seed package. They are highly susceptible to powdery mildew---a white powdery-like substance on the leaves and stems---and therefore adequate airflow around the individual plants is essential to help control this malady. Zinnias make long-lasting cut flowers, lasting seven to 10 days in a bouquet.
A tender perennial grown from a rhizomatous root, cannas (Canna x generalis) are a large, majestic flower in bloom during July and the rest of the growing season until killed by frost. Their leaves are large---up to two feet long---and many varieties grow to a height of four feet or more by season's end. The flowers appear along a spike and are in shades of red, pink and white. Some varieties have maroon-colored or variegated leaves. Dig the rhizomes after the plants are killed by frost and store them in a frost-free area until the following spring, then plant them out after all danger of frost has past.