Sunday, June 10, 2012

The Flowery Trees and Shrubs of Summer

Spring and Fall are the main gardening seasons here in North Carolina, with summer often taking a backseat. I have, however, observed many showy trees and shrubs blooming in nearby public and private gardens this month . Some I know from my youth in Alabama such as the Mimosa or silk tree and the Southern magnolia . I saw a stunning blue flowering shrub that I had never seen before and managed to get its name. If you've never seen vitex you're in for some real eye candy. 

                                              Vitex is a very showy tree/shrub that blooms in June.

I've also observed some late blooming azaleas and rhododenrons as well as the familiar St. John's wort.  June of course is resplendent with roses of all kinds.

Some wise gardeners have a few of my favorite Abelia shrubs.  And of course, Hydrangeas of all colors and cultivars define so many Southern gardens .

Lagerstroemia indica, or Crape Myrtle  ( often referred to as the " Southern lilac " ) has begun its long show of colorful flowers in reds, pinks, white and lavender.

                                                               Abelia is a long-blooming evergreen shrub.

Lagerstroemia ' burgundy cotton ' - a gorgeous Crape Myrtle that grows 10-15 feet tall.  I love the color on this one.

I know that Mimosas are undesirable because of their invasiness but according to recent reports the burgundy colored cultivar is not. 

  Albizia julibrissin  'summer chocolate '  Its pink blooms are stunning against the burgundy foliage.  We Southerners have fond childhood memories of these trees that were present in almost every yard.

The secret to gardening in the summer in the South is to rise early to do your chores before the heat sets in , or wait until evening with it cools a bit.

I just can't imagine not gardening in the summer and when I get my own garden in the near future I will certainly include a lot of color for this flowery season.


  1. Vitex looks similar to Lilac in our area, but the blooms are more upright. It is a very pretty shrub. You highlighted plants I would love to grow, even the Mimosa.

  2. I hope that the kinks are finally worked out on the comment section, Donna. Didja have any problems this time ? Do you think you can grow these Southern beauties there in Niagra Falls ?

  3. Love the mimosa trees but they will not last here in Ohio. We had one for 3 years and the severe cold finally got it. Love stopping by your blog, when you were in Chicago and now in the south.
    Good luck with your yard!


  4. My parents have a huge Vitex in their yard! It is amazing when in full bloom. I added one to my gardens last year when I found one for cheap. It survived its first drought year and mild winter and is doing well with this drought year as well. Who cannot love those myrtles? I have a total of 25 within our property line. 12 planted by the previous homeowners along our wooded street never bloom with little sun shine. They are too old to move and we cannot move the woods so they remain un-blooming trees. Sigh… I love that dark Mimosa. My grandmother had a mimosa in her front yard that we would climb as children. That memory comes to mind every time I see one blooming…


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