Bold and Beautiful Blossoms

Vibrant Orange Poppies Sizzle in the Garden in A Garden For All by Kathy Diemer

Vibrant Orange Poppies Sizzle in the Garden (photo: Kathy Diemer)

Just as summer’s sun sets the sky ablaze, so too will bold blossoms sprinkled throughout your gardens.  As if you’re turning on a switch of colors; one touch creates a burst of sizzling orange, another ignites with flashes of fiery red, or brilliant amber petals illuminate an otherwise lackluster location. Now imagine kicking it up a notch . . . or two . . . and doubling or tripling the flower’s dimension to create a true explosion of color.  If this intensity boost sounds like something you’d want to plug into, read on to learn about some of my favorite buxom beauties sure to add spark to your gardens this season.

Brilliant torch of Giant Knapweed in A Garden For All by Kathy Diemer

Brilliant torch of Giant Knapweed (photo by: Kathy Diemer)

Giant Knapweed (Centaurea macrocephala): If you’ve ever wanted to light a bunch of firecrackers, but were (wisely) concerned about the many potential dangers involved, here’s your chance to live on the edge. Giant knapweed is a plant capable of creating its own 4th of July (sans noise) with huge yellow thistle blooms atop sturdy 4 foot stems. Hardy in zones 4-8, this maintenance free queen of centaureas produces canary yellow torches from mid-June through July, and when the phosphorescent flowers fade it retains its upright stature to complement the garden until fall.

Incredible hybiscus blossom in A Garden For All by Kathy Diemer

Incredible hybiscus blossom (photo by: Kathy Diemer)

Hybiscus (Hibiscus moscheutos): With a flower similar to the much loved Rose of Sharon (Hibiscus syriacus) shrub, Hibiscus moscheutos offers the same broad range of dynamic shades without taking up all that real estate in the landscape. Its tropical appearance looks tender, however this zone 4-9 hardy perennial is anything but.  Brazenly flaunting flowers up to 8 inches in diameter, from ruby red to vivid pink, Hibiscus moscheutos is a powerhouse plant that blooms from July through August with little care. (Note: Although deer resistant, its glossy leaves are much desired by Japanese beetles and may look tattered by the end of the summer).

Moon flower in A Garden For All by Kathy Diemer

Intoxicating Moon Flower (photo credit: Kathy Diemer)

Moon Flower (Ipomoea alba): This alluring vine from the morning glory family enjoys the night life almost as much as Alicia Bridges, producing creamy white flowers the size of salad plates that open as the sun goes down.  Moon flower is a (tender annual) tropical vine that takes a little longer to get started in colder climates, but by August she has her groove on and can quickly cover a 10 foot trellis with her abundant tendrils.  Not only are moon flower’s enormous blossoms intoxicating to the eye, but on warm summer nights they emit a scrumptious fragrance capable of luring any passersby.

Long Awaited 'Patty's Plum' Poppy in A Garden For All by Kathy Diemer

The Long Awaited, Much Anticipated ‘Patty’s Plum’ Poppy (photo: Kathy Diemer)

Oriental Poppies (Papaver orientale): A favorite spellbinder of the wicked witch of the west, when this enchanting plant opens her brilliant petals in unrivaled shades of radiant orange to majestic mauve, you’re sure to be in a daze . . . at least for a few moments.  Producing flowers as delicate as crepe paper that reach up to 6 inches across, this easy care perennial blooms in sunny spots (zones 3-8) throughout the month of June, leaving interesting pod heads after the petals fall. Underplant your poppies with a lush ground cover (I use geraniums) to camouflage the late season browning foliage.

cephalaria & friend photo credit: Kathy Diemer

Cephalaria & friend (photo credit: Kathy Diemer)

Yellow Scabious (Cephalaria gigantea): Although the luminous flowers are a mellower yellow, what she lacks in hue she more than makes up in stature.  Capable of reaching six feet in height, this gentle giant offers dozens upon dozens of pale chartreuse pin cushions that wave high above the plant’s dense foliage.  Much loved by bees and butterflies, this zone 3-7 charmer blooms continuously from June through July and blends beautifully with whatever companion plantings live nearby.  Another long-lived, easy care plant that only requires a little bit of foliage tending in late summer to keep it looking good all season.

What are you waiting for?  It’s time to get your bold on . . .


  1. LOVE the colors!!! Would like to put some in my garden….

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