By Glenn DiNella
One of my all-time favorite flowers for beating the heat has to be the daylily (Hemerocallis). I don’t really believe there is a perfect no-maintenance plant, but daylilies come close. One of my old gardening friends used to joke that daylilies could probably grow in a parking lot where someone dumped out their car’s ashtray.
As the name implies, the blooms last only one day, but many varieties keep producing several blooms per plant each day for most of the summer. They come in many stunning combinations of yellow, orange, and maroon. As perennials they die back in fall but return each spring and spread to fill whatever space you allow them. When they get crowded, simply dig them up and share with gardening friends.
The small variegated foliage and tiny yellow flowers of this ‘Tequila Sunrise’ coreopsis (pictured) make it a great front-of-the-border plant for a sunny bed. For serious impact plant it in masses.
Out by my mailbox, which receives direct sun from about 8 a.m. until 5 p.m., I opted for several silvery foliage plants to match my silver box and post. Silver plants tend to have waxy or fuzzy foliage, which helps them reflect sunlight and hold in moisture, so many of them are heat lovers. I have no irrigation, and these plants are so far from a water spigot, they have not received water from me since the day I planted them two years ago.
A tall, wispy artemesia (also called wormwood) flanks the mailbox.
Bluish-red switchgrass (Panicum virgatum ‘Cheyenne Skies’) fills in behind the box.
I planted lavender front and center. The small spikes of bluish-purple flowers have a great fragrance that make it a pleasure to go to the mailbox, even when it teems with nothing but incoming bills.
See more by this author.