Summer-blooming perennials tend to be large plants with bright, flashy flowers. They reach to the sky and flaunt their colors boldly. I’m not complaining! But sometimes it’s nice to notice plants with a delicate, subtle beauty.
Harebell, shown above, looks delicate but is an extremely sturdy perennial. It blooms from June to August, takes a brief rest, and then reblooms in September and October. It thrives on poor, dry soil–it would make a great rock garden plant–and asks for nothing but sunlight. It’s about a foot high (those lovely flowers are roughly the size of quarters).
Daisy fleabane is a native annual that appears every spring in my garden. There are at least two very similar species; I think this is Erigeron annus. It self-seeds all over the backyard lawn, and I dig the plants up as soon as I recognize them and place them around the perennial gardens, where the small white flowers supply welcome contrast to the bright colors of most early perennials. Like asters, rudbeckias, echinaceas, and many other of our most iconic native flowering plants, daisy fleabane belongs to the Asteraceae, or aster family. It’s one of many native species, including at least four different asters, that have arrived in my garden on their own.