Every season has a color palette, both in nature and in my mind. Spring is delicate, soft, and pastel. Fall is dark, subdued colors. Summer, for me, is anything bright and saturated. The brighter the better. All bright colors are right for summer in the garden, but these are definitely my favorites.
Maybe it’s the sun, but I always think of yellow first when I think of summer. In the garden, yellow comes from daylilies, zinnias, coreopsis, black-eyed Susans, impatiens, dahlias, and of course, sunflowers.
A large, bright golden sunflower is the epitome of summer. Sure, they can bloom in the fall, but there’s nothing like an August sunflower to cheer up a garden. The color is warm, cheerful, and welcoming.
The pastel pink of a cherry blossom is spring, but the hot pink of a geranium is everything summer to me. A bright, friendly pink just makes me think of summer days. I love geraniums in hot pink but also hydrangeas, azaleas, impatiens, begonias, peonies and petunias.
I have yet to grow roses, but when I do one day, I’ll choose varieties in the brightest pink with evocative names: ‘Hot Lady,’ ‘Queenberry,’ ‘Pink Floyd,’ and ‘Latin Breeze.’
Like yellow, orange is just cheerful. It makes me think of hot days and creamsicles. I love a pretty orange flower for its color and also its rarity. It’s just not the most common color for flowers.
Some of my favorite orange blooms for summer include California poppies, butterfly weed, daylily, African daisies, and marigolds. My favorite, though, is an orange zinnia. It’s just the right shade for the season. My mom always grew zinnias when I was a kid, and they always make me think of summer.
Purple can be soft and subtle, like a lilac, or downright electric, like an iris or a morning glory. Bright purple is a cooler color than yellow, orange, and hot pink, but it still suits summer in my mind. I also love the purple flowers that tend toward true blue, like hydrangeas and asters.
The color of summer, for me, is not just one shade. It’s bright, happy, warm, and rich. I love to see these bold colors in summer gardens. This is not a season for subtlety, so why should the flowers be?