Summer brings with it a variety of blooming shrubs. One of the easiest to grow species is the paniculata group of hydrangeas; that is, Limelight, Little Lime, Little Lamb, Vanilla Strawberry and Strawberry Sundae among others. One of the best is Hydrangea ‘Bobo’ that is compact and full growing to 3-4 feet with pure white flowers that are held erect by the strong stems. Another attribute of the paniculata species is that they love full sun and are extremely winter hardy. Trimming in fall or spring is fine as they are not fussy similar to the old wood blooming hydrangeas such as Nikko Blue that is an unreliable every year bloomer.
As for herbaceous perennials, Hibiscus are getting ready to bloom with their 9 inch diameter flower. Hibiscus like full sun and ordinary well-drained soil; however, a somewhat moist soil doesn’t seem to create problems for them. A variety of colors are available from bright red to burgundy, white, pink and various multi-colored flowers. Hibiscus are reliably hardy although some gardeners take them for dead in early to mid-spring as they have a tendency to break growth only when temperatures have warmed up consistently after mid-May which is an advantage preventing the new growth from being killed by frosts. Hardy Hibiscus normally grow to about six feet tall although there are some varieties bred to stay under 4 feet. Fall or early spring trimming of the old flower stalks is fine but will require loppers as the dead wood is quite heavy to cut.
Another herbaceous perennial that is quite popular is Hemerocallis or daylilies. Daylilies will grow in wet soil or ordinary well-drained soil and favor sun although they will bloom in part shade. With so many colors, heights and the longevity of blooming, daylilies are a “must-have” for the border or perennial garden. Several new varieties “pop out” every year in amazing solid or bicolors. Tetraploids have an extra set of chromosomes that result in much larger blossoms. Other easy-to-grow summer bloomers are around but these are some of the most widely used for spectacular summer bloom. Come in and take a look!
On another note, bagworm is in the area again ravaging junipers, arborvitae and Colorado spruce. Eating away at the foliage are the camouflaged larvae that are surrounded with leaf debris. Although insecticide at this last stage will not eliminate the insects, a spray with a product containing acephate will stop them from feeding. One such product is Bonide Systemic Insect Spray that may be mixed in a pump sprayer at the rate of 1½ fluid ounces per gallon of water. Just spray until runoff and the feeding will stop. Repeat the application in one week and that’s all there is to it. The treatment is “cheap and easy” and will prevent the death of valuable trees and shrubs.