July is hot, but it can be colorful, and a great reason to get out of town! Summer in Fresno does have its perks. Early mornings are great for working in the garden then you have the rest of the day to play (goof off). Outside evening activities like barbeques, swim parties or just sitting around the patio having a beverage are very popular. Summer gardens can look fantastic with a little thought, even with our water restrictions. Planting pots or low colorful borders to tall background trees and shrubs so there is always color during the summer.
One very popular theme is the 'Moon Garden'. Planting shrubs, perennials and annuals with white flowers or foliage to reflect the Moon's glow in the evening. Popular shrubs are gardenias, butterfly iris, white bower vine, white butterfly bush, crepe myrtle, cleveland sage(foliage) iceberg
rose, and white hydrangea. White perennials dusty miller (foliage), white lantana, white geraniums, white rockrose, hostas (foliage) and white penstemon. Best summer annuals are white vinca, alyssum, pentas, petunias, begonias and dianthus. These plants range from sun to shade and all heights from 6 inches to 15ft.
Try one of these great combinations of shrubs and perennials for summer color in pots or planter beds. Mystic Spires blue salvia, black eyed susan perennial & lavender lantana. Iceberg rose, salvia greggii red & perennial dianthus. Razzleberri fringe flower, dusty miller & trailing rosepink verbena. Green dracena, pink gaura & variegated acorus grass. Bougainvillea bush, coreopsis early sunrise & annual pentas.
Two of the most drought tolerant and colorful plants available now are the Caesalpinias. C. gilliesii is known as the Yellow Desert Bird of Paradise for its spectacular yellow tubular flowers with dramatic red stamens. This woody deciduous shrub tolerates extreme heat and drought and can grow to 10ft. The fine textured foliage gives it a lacy appearance. Caesalpinia pulcherrima is known as the Red Bird of Paradise. Clusters of bright orange/red/yellow flowers start in late June to July and often later into summer. This woody perennial dies back to ground level each winter then pushes new growth in the spring to about 4ft before it blooms. Little to no care when established!
Both varieties will reseed themselves which is a plus or minus depending on what you want. They are perfect for the San Joaquin Valley's climate and should be a staple in any garden
Not Just Plants. Check out your local garden center/nursery for fun garden art. From wall art to statues to tacky pink flamingos ( yes they still make them) and fountains these 'hardscape' additions add interest and fun to any garden. Its also a great time to take a quick trip to Morro Bay and check out the Garden Gallery Nursery one of my favorites.