By Mark Montoya
This spring has been among the most colorful in recent memory. The older azaleas, camelias, forsythia, and spirea were especially notable. The reason for this was that the cold weather stayed with us a little bit longer this year. We didn’t have that ‘false spring’ we normally have in February, followed by another freezing period – which usually burns the blooms of the Japanese magnolias.
Although the calendar says summer begins June 21st, it’s really almost upon us here in Montgomery. Now is the time you need to start planning and planting for the hot summer weather. Stop buying spring flowers — they can’t take the heat of May and June. Hot weather flowers should be planted soon, so they’ll have time to develop a strong and deep root system which will enable them to withstand the heat. Planting now also allows the foliage to toughen up before the sun begins to beat down upon it. Remember that what you plant now should give you color all summer long into the fall, up to the first frost.
Here are the bedding plants I recommend for your summer garden: For full sun try penta, salvia, angelonia, begonias, asters, coneflower, coreopsis, zinnias, and ageratum; for the shaded areas of your garden, go ahead and plant caladium bulbs, impatiens, coleus, ferns, and hostas.
There are many other bedding plants to choose from of course, but these are some of the least expensive, and they will become the bones of your summer garden.
Mark Montoya is a Montgomery native who first learned gardening from his father. He has designed planted and nurtured gardens in our city’s neighborhoods— both old and new, for twenty years.