Azaleas (Rhododendron hybrids, Zones 6–9) are traditionally a feature of spring gardens, but new breeding, notable in the Encore series, has created forms that bloom in the spring and then rebloom in late summer, so we get a bit of spring delicacy in the late summer.
Hardy hibiscus like this are hybrids of U.S. native species such as Hibiscus moscheutos (Zones 5–9) and Hibiscus coccineus (Zones 5–9), and they end the summer by producing truly enormous flowers. As with most hibiscus, each individual bloom only lasts one day, but they are produced in great abundance and make a dramatic statement in late summer.
New York ironweed is a towering native perennial, that, depending on the form and garden conditions, can reach as tall as 6 or 8 feet. The large clusters of small purple flowers are very attractive to many insects, including this beautiful swallowtail butterfly.
Seven-sons flower is a small tree that, unlike many trees, doesn’t bloom in spring but rather late summer. The big clusters of white flowers develop into pinkish seed heads that remain attractive a long time.
What says summer more than black-eyed Susans? So cheerful and vigorous!
Another classic end-of-summer bloom is Japanese anemone (Anemone hupehensis, Zones 4–8). It thrives in sun or partial shade and brings a great parade of delicate-looking pink flowers on vigorous plants. Some cultivars can spread a little aggressively, so choose small growing selections for small gardens.
Crocosmia is a genus of bulbs native to South Africa that have brilliant yellow, orange, or red flowers in summer. This looks like it might be the classic cultivar ‘Emily McKenzie’ (Zones 6–9).
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