There are two types of flowers, perennials and annuals. Annuals bloom nonstop the entire season we spend outdoors, then fade in the winter cold. Perennials usually have a shorter bloom cycle but come back year after year for decades of garden enjoyment.
Here are my favorites for the best show through the summer heat.
CRAZY BLUE RUSSIAN SAGE
Plant en masse to add a blue Southwest drift of color to the landscape. The perfect alternative to lavender in cottage gardens or along fence lines. Its casual character is equally suited for wild gardens among rock outcroppings and large boulders. Outstanding at edges of dry stream beds with wildflowers. Animal proof!
A sensational, award-winning selection that blooms with massive clusters of large flowers. If spent flower stalks are removed, the newest mountain varieties re-bloom freely into early fall. This easy plant forms neat, compact foliage clumps.
This perennial is used to scent linens, sachet, and potpourris. Even gardeners with no interest in such domesticity grow lavender to “class up” their landscape, patio and decks. A sun worshiper, lavender grows to knee height, is animal-proof and only killed by too much water.
FLYING SAUCER COREOPSIS
This orange perennial is a desirable substitute for annual marigolds. Perfect for “wanna-be” gardeners with black thumbs because it is tough as nails and reseeds for a natural wildflower look.
GIGA BLUE PINCUSHION FLOWER
This is the largest of the pincushion flowers found with exquisite violet flowers. The 2-inch blooms arise on stiff, upright stems above a small, naturally compact mound of finely cut foliage. Butterflies are drawn to the honey scent.
JUPITER’S BEARD (CENTRANTHUS)
The globular clusters of fragrant, bright carmine flowers are complemented by sedum blue foliage. Blooms for an extremely long season in poor, dry soils, spreading like wild poppy and penstemon. Deer and rabbit proof.
The worse treatment this pink bloom gets, the better it blooms. Tromp on it, mow it and forget to water this perennial for summer-long color. A super tough ground cover.
PASSIONATE RAINBOW GAURA
A profusion of rose flowers from spring to fall, its variegated foliage of green leaves, white margins and pink tones is as charming as its blooms. The 2-foot plant has excellent tolerances to heat and drought. Hummingbirds love to visit.
RED HOT POKER (KNIPHOFIA UVARIA)
The standard red hot poker grows to a height of 3 feet with red and yellow cylindrical flowers. A dwarf Popsicle series found at Watters Garden Center grows just 18 inches in mango, Red hot and pineapple colors. This bloomer loves blistering hot sun, wind and neglect that javelinas dislike.
WALKER’S LOW CATMINT
More than just a little herb for the cat to frolic in, it gained cult status when this variety was named 2018 Perennial Plant of the Year. Stunning blue leaves complement a natural border, and bees delight in the nectar-rich violet blooms. Plants grow knee-high but have a prostrate habit used often as a ground cover. Javelina, deer, and rabbits find this plant utterly detestable!
This herb blooms summer through fall on 1-foot long stems. The native species blooms in yellow, but the plant is so happy in Arizona we continuously introduce new colors like pink, paprika, white and red. Grown as a medicinal, yarrow was used to staunch the flow of blood. It likes to be deadheaded and given lots of sun. Yarrow is noted for repelling Arizona rattlesnakes.