Here are some suggestions for plants that make me happy during this fleeting time.
Blackberry Lily--This is an oddball. Used to be rare but I'm seeing it more lately. Actually an iris (Belamcanda chinensis), this guy puts on black berries in the fall and is very decorative. It has very small and airy blooms with that crazy red dot... they don't last long but they sure do tower above everything else and create a real note of contrast!
Echinacea-- This is the prairie favorite. It does require additional water when the drought settles in. But not too much... those seed heads and the purple flower really inspire and delight me.The goldfinches love them in season and in winter!
Tiger Lilies- These came with the house, as far as I remember. As in, they came with the house when my folks bought it in 1979! These are a real lily, 3-4' tall. Now they are in dappled shade but they prefer sun. These small black bulblets are how the plant reproduces!
This montage of awesome are yellow Rudbekia 'Goldsturm' with Lantana (an annual) in front of them. I need to reinforce right here- this is why you plant annuals! The color and the wow when it's hot and dry. Also, behind them, that mass of grey-green is 'Silver Mound' Artemesia. It's stunning.
Here are some extras that are not pictured but so worth it in the late summer: Ninebark "Summer Wine" has amazing burgundy foliage and a great structure. Caryopteris is not quite in bloom yet but I always remember why I love this plant right now. Bright blue blossoms, 3' tall stature, grayish foliage. This is one that wasn't probably as cold tolerant at one time. New varieties are really useful and great.
Also, please enjoy this amazing shrimp/ avocado salsa recipe from the Smitten Kitchen.... hubba hubba!
Here are some garden reminders for this part of the season:It really is time to divide and replant bearded irises. They go into a summer dormancy. Use you garden fork and lift the rhizomes and divide them. Replant them when it isn't over 90 degrees-- other than that, it's pretty simple!
Warning: the spider mites are out in force. I wrote on the landscape company blog about this topic, so visit there if you're interested.