Summer is the height of the blooming season for so many perennials, and it's easy to fill your flowerbed with summer blooms. Many summer-blooming flowers can be cut and brought indoors for a long vase life, while others, particularly ground-covering flowers, are best left in the garden.
Taller flowers such as Peruvian Lily and Joe Pye Weed can go towards the back of the flowerbed because their blooms will tower above smaller flowers such as Yarrow or Shasta Daisy. Ground-covering flowers such as Hardy Cranesbill or Catmint look best in the foreground of your flowerbed.
Tall summer flowers
Peruvian Lily or Alstroemeria is a fantastic cut flower, and lasts up to two weeks in a vase. Alstroemeria 'Casablanca' is a 3- to 4-foot summer-blooming Peruvian Lily that has white flowers with yellow and pink markings. It looks great in the back of a garden bed, and its flowers go well with most colors.
Care should be taken in choosing Alstroemerias to select a sterile variety so that it will not spread pervasively through the garden. 'Casablanca' is a sterile variety that clumps neatly.
Joe Pye Weed or Eupatorium is a traditional flower garden plant which reaches 4 feet or taller and has pink flowers in summer. It looks particularly good in the back of the flowerbed with ornamental grass and other flowering perennials. The hybrid variety 'Phantom' has rich purple to lavender flowers and deep green leaves.
Smaller summer flowers
Yarrow, or Achillea millefolium is a sturdy sun-loving perennial which is attractive to butterflies. It blooms in summer and is a good choice for seacoast gardens. Achillea 'Red Velvet' is a variety which has bright red flowers and grey-green foliage. It grows quickly to 1 foot tall and reaches 3 feet tall when it is in bloom.
Shasta Daisy or Leucanthemum superbum is the classic white cut-flower daisy with yellow centers. They are very easy to grow, but the traditional white often has a short summer bloom season.
Leucanthemum 'Broadway Lights' is a creamy yellow Shasta Daisy with golden centers that has a longer blooming season than other varieties. It reaches 2 feet tall and looks good with 'Casablanca' Alstroemeria, because the yellow of the flower highlights the yellow wash on the petals of the Alstroemeria.
Groundcovering summer flowers
In the foreground of the garden bed, Catmint or Nepeta x faassenii shines. Its lavender blooms and gray-green foliage look as though it belongs in a watercolor painting of a flowerbed, and it blooms all summer long. The variety 'Walker's Low' reaches 1 foot tall and 2 to 3 feet wide.
Patricia Hardy Cranesbill or Geranium 'Patricia' is another excellent choice for the front of the flowerbed. It forms a neat clump to 18 inches tall, then sends out thin flower stems with numerous bright magenta flowers that have a black center. It blooms from spring through frost and is particularly floriferous in summer.