Beginner’s Guide to the Best Summer Flowers in Canada

Early summer is a time of bounty in any garden: a full canopy of leaves on trees and shrubs form lush clouds of green overhead, and sunny beds boast an abundance of beautiful blossoms. The list of early-summer bloomers is a long one, but we’ve got you covered.

1 / 4
Irises are one of Canada's best summer flowers
Photo: Shutterstock

Best Summer Flowers in Canada: Iris

Irises are perfect for early-summer gardens in cooler climates and one of the best summer flowers in Canada.

2 / 4
Lavender flowers
Photo: Shutterstock

Best Summer Flowers in Canada: Framing Feature Flowers

The best summer flowers are when featured flowers are framed against green foliage plants, or late blooming perennials, they often look more refined than when they stand alone, or cheek-by-jowl with other showy flowering plants. Try using silvery leaved plants like lavender to frame a bright flowering plant like a bush of red roses. Plants with pale gray or bluish foliage, such as lavender, artemisia, lamb’s ears, rose campion, and Russian sage, always make good framing plants for snappier neighbours. Or, set your flowering plants off by surrounding them or backing them with plants that have striking, dark foliage, such as dwarf boxwoods, liriope, dark burgundy black cohosh, or even smokebush.

Here are 7 Insects You Actually Want In Your Garden.

3 / 4
Sweet alyssum flowers
Photo: Shutterstock

Best Summer Flowers in Canada: Care-Free Annuals

Another summer flower in Canada are annuals. Plan to grow an abundance of annuals in climates that are very hot in summer or very cold in winter, because both extremes limit the number of perennials that will thrive there. Annuals, because they only live during the growing season, aren’t affected by winter’s worst weather. And in summer, many annuals like nothing better than blooming for weeks on end, unaffected by heat, humidity, and strong sun. Annuals will provide nonstop color in high-visibility beds and containers, and they can even thrive in the dry, hot strips of soil abutting driveways, sidewalks, and median strips.

When choosing annuals, look for those that have a long flowering time for your climate. Some like it cold. Flowering cabbage, lobelias, pansies, and sweet alyssum are good candidates where temperatures remain cool in fall and early spring, or even as winter annuals in hot climates. Moderate summer climates are ideal places to grow garden standbys like petunias and impatients. Where summers are very hot, choose heat-tolerant annuals like ageratum, caladiums, annual grasses, narrow-leaf zinnia, or any wax begonia. The color range in annuals is so great that you can have fun experimenting with different color combinations and plant shapes from year to year while maintaining the same perennials and shrubs.

Put less strain on your pursestrings with these brilliant gardening shortcuts.

4 / 4
Climbing rose flowers
Photo: Shutterstock

Best Summer Flowers in Canada: Adding Height

Add height to your summer flowers. If there seems to be something missing in your summer garden that you can’t quite put your finger on, perhaps what you really need is more vertical interest. Plants that rise high, such as vines grown on arbors or upright trellises, shrubs with an upright habit like columnar junipers, or even a climbing rose attached to a post or pillar, give your eyes a welcome break from looking down into the garden. As you raise your head to admire vertical plants, you can’t help taking in the view of the wonderful tree canopies and the brilliant blue sky, which you might otherwise miss. Vertical plants make maximum use of ground space, so they are especially functional in a small garden. And, in addition, fast-growing annual vines like morning glory, hops, and scarlet runner bean, can give an instant look of maturity to new beds.

Want to take your hostess gift to the next level? Here are five foolproof ways to pair wine and flowers.

Reader's Digest Canada
Originally Published in Reader's Digest Canada

Newsletter Unit