May and June have given way to hot sunny days. Two heat-loving varieties really come into their own now: Salvia greggii and Angelonia angustifolia. Though both are heat and drought tolerant, occasional watering and a good mulching through the heat will keep them looking their best.

Salvia greggii is revered for its neat appearance being a roundish shrub, 1′ to 4′ high and wide. Covered with dark green leaves and a full flush of blossoms from summer through fall it is an excellent focal point in the hot summer landscape, or great as a low hedge. It’s also a hummingbird and butterfly attractor. Flower colors run from deep reds, purples and pinks to coral, salmon and white.

Angelonia is a newcomer. At 2′ high and wide, this needle leafed beauty is covered with spikes of small orchid-like blossoms in blue, white, lavender, rose, and often with contrasting dark freckles. Keeping spent flower spikes removed will insure a continuous bloom through fall.

Slap on the sunscreen and do the same for your summer garden with a good thick layer of mulch to keep that soil cool and moist. This helps all of those heat-lovers stay at their peak through the summer sun.

by Bob Riedmuller
Printed in Garden Compass magazine
July/August 2002
Used with permission.