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Southeast Gardening: Summer's Sweetest Flowers

Brought to you by Lowe's Creative Ideas

The fragrances of summer are many. Ripe watermelon on the picnic table, freshly mown grass, and the mixed scents of sunscreen and chlorine on a child's bathing suit. And then there are the flowers.


Of course fragrant flowers bloom from the first days of spring to the last of autumn. My favorites are always those blooming right now, so looking around, here’s what I have on hand.

Formosa lilies (Lilium formosanum) resemble Easter lilies out of season. They bloom on August 1 every year in my Zone 7b garden. Usually reaching 5 to 6 feet or even taller, they are self-supporting. They like moisture but don’t mind hard, dry clay, as long as they are watered occasionally. Best of all I began with one, and it multiplied. Seedlings grow so fast that they begin to bloom in one season. They are hardy in Zones 6–9.


Tropical-looking ginger lilies (Hedychium sp.) usually have flowers like white butterflies (H. coronarium); or coral ones, like mine (H. coccineum). My ginger lily is equal to my 5-foot-8 height and is a wonderful reward for enduring the hottest days of summer. It will bloom for several weeks, a feast for my eyes, as well as for the hummingbirds. It has no trouble in my garden, although it probably can’t go much farther north.

So many butterfly bushes grow too large, overwhelming a small garden. Here’s good news: Buddleia davidii ‘Blue Chip’ tops out at 3 feet and spreads to about 4 feet, with nonstop summer blooms. Hardy from Zones 5a to 9b, it is adaptable to almost any sunny garden. The butterflies will love you for it.


Angel trumpet (Brugmansia sp) and moonvine (Ipomoea alba) are both fragrant at night, beginning at twilight. Angel trumpet may get killed to the ground in winter, but it is root-hardy to Zone 7b.

Moon vine is an annual that is grown from seeds available in seed racks. Find a fat bud in the morning and return at sundown to watch it open. Then just inhale the fragrance.


See more Southeast gardening articles.