I am one of those people who have favorite words. Plethora, for example, has always tickled my fancy. And sweltering. Living in Texas, I get to use those magnificent, king sized words quite often!
But y’all, this is a bit much! We started out with heat indexes around 105° in late June, then had a little relief the first week of July (when I was gone), and it seems to be climbing since! This is the external temperature recorded in my minivan last Wednesday… while we were moving! (photo by my son in the passenger seat)
So what’s a Texas gardener to do?
Well, not much right now, if your garden is in full sun.
So I’ll back up to last month when our temperatures were only hovering around 100°. The heat baked or stunted most of my vegetables, but a few bloomers have risen to the top of my list for their high heat, low water tolerance, and beautiful display.
The Belle of this year’s garden has been the lovely zinnias.
I had some zinnias from seeds saved in previous years. They originally were given to me by a gardening friend. There used to be several colors, but over the years, only pink lasted. This year I added more seeds : Purple Prince (of course) and a mixed pouch.
The tiny red spider zinnias have reseeded themselves for about three years now. The heat did cause many blooms to be to be smaller this year, but these are always that tiny.
The next superstar has been my sunflowers.
In the past, I stuck to the Skyscraper sunflowers because I liked having the giant bloom. But that was so much growth and just one bloom per plant.
This year, I tried Lemon Queen and Giant Primrose, from Baker Creek, for multiple blooms and I found a new love!
And look how lovely they are together!
Of course, I also have one “weed” aka a native sunflower that is found in our pastures, that I allowed to grow in my garden space. Here’s why – when the temp is soaring well over 100, nothing phases this natural beauty!
Is big and gangly with many spent blossoms and beauties at the same time. And my bumbles love it.
What’s your favorite flower for summer?
Heirloom Seeds – This is the first company I ever used for heirloom seed and they’ve always been excellent seed source!
UPDATE 2020: Heirloom Seeds has been purchased by Baker Creek and they now use it as their bulk seed website. I’ve removed links in the article that refer to the seeds I purchased there, because they’re no longer available.
Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds – This is the second year I’ve used Baker Creek. I didn’t have much success with this year’s seeds, but that is probably largely due to the extreme weather we’ve had this year.
The beautiful hair clip my daughter is wearing in the big sunflower picture, is from the wonderful company I represent!