It's hot. I'm busy. Except to water patio pots, and pull a few pilea & sorrel weeds, I haven't spent much time in my precious garden the past few weeks. But that's OK, because a lot of forethought has gone into taking some time off during the dog days. My well-planned and planted perennial garden will do by itself during these times. The garden includes flowering shrubs such as clethra and hydrangea; self-sowing annuals such as perilla, verbena bonariensis, and cleome; and stalwart perennials such as rudbeckia and phlox. The swallowtail, monarchs, skipper, and painted lady butterflies which are drawn to these summer bloomers add movement and grace to the summer garden, even if all I want to do is admire it from inside my air-conditioned home.
As you plan your perennial bed (and we should all be planning, every year), remember to include a few of the hard workers mentioned above. They add easy late-season color, fragrance and interest to the garden of the work-weary gardener.