Last week when I took these photos, it was 70 degrees and my Spring flowers where lovin’ it.

This week, it’s 90 and delicate flowers are fading fast.

Heat is hard on flowers.   Blooms that may last for months up North can come and go in a scant two weeks in my Wake County garden.   So I’m always planning ahead.

Rule number 1 for Southern flower lovers:

Plan for holes in the  bed. You’ll want to fill them.  But the warmer it gets, the less selection you’ll find, and the bigger price tag,  since plants gets more expensive as their nursery pots get larger.    So I grow my own.  Right now, I have pots of cleome, flowering tobacco, and zinnias growing alongside the ‘maters in reserve.

Rule number 2)  Stop diss-ing annuals.  HHAs  (short for half-hardy annuals) bloom all summer while perennial blooming seasons tend to be much shorter.  Consider some heat lovers like melampodium, Mexican sunflowers and the list above.

Rule number 3)  If it’s done, it’s done.  Don’t be afraid to dig up or pull out spent plants and replace.  I do this every summer–usually May and late August.

Finally, Rule 4) Put in some flashy foliage.  Sun cleome, cannas  and other sexy leaves look good all summer and the contrast makes flowers look even better.

Ok, your turn–what stands up to summer heat in your flower garden?  Please share your favorites so we can all enjoy more blooms.