By Aarzoo Naeem Chaudhry
When I go out in the blistering heat during the summers, I always wonder how flowers or plants survive in the summer heat. It seems absolutely impossible, almost like a miracle for anything living to survive under the torturous sun, so when I was searching for a ‘beautiful’ garden I found out that the gardens won’t be as colorful and pretty as I wanted them to be for the magazine. That is because there are very few flowers which bloom in summers so people don’t pay that much attention to their gardens. However, on a visit to a nursery I found out that there are many flowers that bloom during summers and you can make a wonderful garden during summers by planting evergreen plants, palms and even cactuses. Here is a list of the flowers and plants you can introduce in your garden to make your summer garden colorful and lovable.
I like these pretty pastel-colored flowers because they can cheer up your garden in the summers. They brave the hot weather and will sit and wait for the temperature to warm up before really starting to grow. They are very drought tolerant so they make the perfect flowers for the hot summers of Pakistan. Butterflies are particularly attracted to Zinnias. So, plant lots of Zinnias if you want many butterflies visiting your garden!!
The word Cosmos is derived from the Greek language, and means a ‘balanced universe’ a cute name for a pretty flower like this one. It has a variety of colors for you to choose from and it survives the heat just as well as Zinnia. Cosmos are herbaceous perennial flowering plants and can grow up to 3-4 feet.
This is one flowering plant that I have seen so much and absolutely love! The gardener at my place used to pronounce it as ‘Faata-laka’ and funnily almost all the gardeners, even those at nurseries pronounce it in their own way, for example ‘Photolaka’ or ‘paatalaka’ and so on. Its myriad of bright reds, yellows, whites, oranges and every color in between can transform desolate looking garden beds overnight. Portulacas love it in the hot and dry weather which pretty much defines Lahore’s weather in summers. They make a great groundcover for hot, sunny areas. You can plant them in poor, even sandy, soil and they also adapt to average garden conditions. Just give them full sun and any well-drained soil.
Teddy Bear Sunflower
As sweet as its name, these flowers are dwarf sunflower plants with multiple yellow-golden double flowers. They need full exposure of sun and bloom from summer to mid-october, so they are a good choice for a summer garden and makes for a colorful garden border.
This is a very sensitive flower and has a life of only one day after which it withers and a new flower blooms the next day in its place. Most daylilies bloom for a single day, beginning in the early morning and lasting until the evening. To make up for this, there are many flower buds on each daylily flower stalk, and many stalks in each clump of plants, so, the flowering period of a clump is usually several weeks long. They are available in all colors except blue and white and can be enjoyed for up to four years after which they stop blooming.
The perfect cheery sunshine for your summer garden are Marigold which come on different colors of which yellow and orange are most common. They are traditionally used on weddings and other ceremonious occasions. The flowers are globe-shaped and large with a lot of leafy foliage. Most of the marigolds have strong, pungent odor and can be planted near your vegetable garden because it is said to confuse harmful insects and keep them from finding host plants.
They blend well with yellow and orange daylilies, extending the color between daylily blooms and they also make nice border plants and mix well in containers.
Other than these flowers you can have a lot of options in indoor plants, palm trees, evergreen plants and creepers like Ivy and Bougainvillea.
This article was originally published in the print edition of Valuemag, issue 13, August 2009.