Nancy Brachey

Brighten up your flower beds for summer

Yellowing daffodil leaves and the inevitable decline of pansies in flower beds provide an opportunity that should be seized quickly. When better than the three-day weekend that started today?

It is difficult, I think, for gardeners to replace their pansies while they still look reasonably presentable. However, heat is ahead. The soil will get very hot and the air even hotter, making it not so pleasant for the gardener.

But we’re not there yet and the rest of this month is the opportune time to deal with the blank spaces left by the departing pansies and the end of the bulb foliage.

For many people, a sharp change in style and color is desired. Spring’s light to bright yellows, pinks and blues can give way to bolder, deeper colors: red, violet, golden yellow, magenta and more.

This noticeable change in color will give the space a totally new look and make you feel that the seasons have truly turned.

There is much to choose from, but some stellar plants lead the list, thanks to their tolerance of heat and steady performance. They are prime choices to choose this late in the spring planting season.

Scarlet sage.


Lantanas tend to get big, and some are hardy enough to withstand a normal Piedmont winter and some sprawl. Gold Rush sprawls to 6 feet but stays short, about 2 feet, making it suitable for covering a daffodil bed for the summer and autumn.


Creeping zinnia.

Plants set out now will require close attention to watering while they settle in. Do your best to get them in this weekend, before the heat really hits.