4 Midsummer Favorites From a Plant Breeder’s Garden


Although it would be nearly impossible for any plant lover to choose just one favorite, here are a few of the standouts that look especially good in my Zone 6 Michigan garden at the peak of the growing season.

 

1. ‘Conca d’Or’ Orienpet Lily

(Lilium ‘Conca d’Or’)

Zones: 5–8

Size: 4 to 7 feet tall and 1 to 2 feet wide

Conditions: Full sun to partial shade; moist, fertile, well-drained soil

Native range: Hybrid

This fragrant beauty may produce up to a dozen flowers on each strong, upright stem. In windy areas, it may need staking. It is very hardy and reliable, with cheerful blooms that glow against a column of deep green foliage over a long period in midsummer.

 

2. ‘Green Arrow’ Alaskan Weeping Cedar

Green Arrow Alaskan Weeping Cedar

(Xanthocyparis nootkatensis ‘Green Arrow’)

Zones: 4–7

Size: 18 to 30 feet tall and 2 to 5 feet wide

Conditions: Full sun to partial shade; moist to average, well-drained soil

Native range: Coastal regions of northwestern North America

‘Green Arrow’ Alaskan weeping cedar has a distinctly linear, upright form and reliable, grass-green winter color—characteristics that set it apart from ‘Pendula’ Alaskan weeping cedar. Although impressive when planted as a single specimen, it is even more spectacular in groups.

 

3. Eucalyptus Wild Indigo

Eucalyptus Wild Indigo

(Baptisia perfoliata)

Zones: 4–9

Size: 3 feet tall and wide

Conditions: Full sun; moist to dry, well-drained soil

Native range: Southeastern United States

This unique-looking species of wild indigo has rounded leaves punctured by wiry stems. Its small yellow flowers appear at leaf axils starting in mid to late summer and continue for several weeks. The distinctive texture of eucalyptus wild indigo combines beautifully with other perennials.

 

4. ‘Galaxy Blue’ Agapanthus

Galaxy Blue Agapanthus

(Agapanthus ‘Galaxy Blue’)

Zones: 6–10

Size: 36 to 40 inches tall and 28 to 30 inches wide

Conditions: Full sun; moist to average, well-drained soil

Native range: Hybrid of species from southern Africa

I have been hybridizing agapanthus for 10 years, and this one is a standout. It is extremely floriferous, bringing a hard-to-find shade of blue to the garden from midsummer through early autumn. Reliably hardy to Zone 6, ‘Galaxy Blue’ does particularly well in regions with consistently heavy snowfall.


Hans Hansen is the director of new plant development at Walters Gardens in Zeeland, Michigan.

Photos: Carol Collins


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