Cool white blossoms seem to take the temperature down a notch in hot summer gardens.
This native white autumn sage (Salvia greggii) has done very well for me the past three years. With a hard pruning in late winter and a light pruning mid-summer, it blooms on and off all year. Bees love it. Easy to find at Austin nurseries.
Cape leadwort (Plumbago auriculata) is a South African native. The white version is more difficult to find than the blue, but it's worth the search. Some white cultivars to look for: 'Alba', 'White Cape', 'Escapade White', 'Monite'.
Here's an oddball you won't see everywhere: button eryngo (Eryngium yuccifolium). I picked it up at a Wildflower Center plant sale, thinking it was the blue-purple variety. It wasn't. It's an interesting specimen piece, but I wouldn't plant a bed with it!
Another white bloomer for the Central Texas plant collector is white Turk's cap (Malvaiscus arboreus var. drummondii). The white does not spread as readily as the red, alas.
In the herb garden, garlic chives (Allium tuberosum) send up white flower stalks for the bees and butterflies. This is the first year for this two-year old clump to bloom. It's had virtually no supplemental watering.
Blue and purple are considered cooling colors, too, while red, yellow and orange are considered warm colors. After this hot spell, I'm rather wishing all my bloomers were white! What's cooling you down in your garden this summer? Leave a comment and let me know.
Words and photos © 2009-2013 Caroline Homer for "The Shovel-Ready Garden". Unauthorized reproduction is prohibited.