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A variety of blossoms fills this flower bed. Michael Vosburg / Forum Photo Editor

Time to pause and enjoy the flowerbed view

Whew! Everyone take five.

We've planted, weeded, mulched, sprayed, sprinkled, scouted for pests and have been just plain busy. Let's take a few minutes to revel in midsummer's beauty.

These weeks are a high point of flower gardening as annuals reach peak bloom, converging with perennials that bloom in midsummer, producing the largest flower show of the growing season.

It's easy to find photogenic material when flowerbeds are overflowing with color, and gardeners have their favorites. Here are a few of the flowers my wife, Mary, and I enjoy in the flowerbeds in our front yard, a mixture of annuals and perennials.

Annual flowers

• Sonata Cosmos: Carefree large flowers on finely cut, ferny foliage.

• Cleome: One of the choicest tall annuals for background planting.

• Blue Bedder Salvia: Spikes of blue are attractive when combined with contrasting colors.

• First Lady Marigold: Pure yellow, fully double flowers on prolific sturdy plants.

• Lemon Gem Marigold: A unique marigold with petite flowers on low-growing mounds.

• Tall Garden Zinnia: Easy-to-grow, heat-loving flower in a rainbow of colors and heights.

• Zahara Zinnia: Low-growing species in vibrant colors with good disease resistance.

• Castor Bean: Dramatic plant creates a huge tropical-looking background accent.

• Annual Hollyhock: An old-fashioned favorite easily grown from seed.

• Indian Summer Rudbeckia: Blooms beautifully as an annual, or short-lived perennial.

• Non-stop Begonia: Large double flowers appreciate a little morning sun followed by shade.

• Big Begonia: The simple name says it all — the flowers of this begonia are BIG.

• Kong Coleus: Huge leaves brighten shaded gardens or decks.


• Bright Eyes Phlox: Tall garden phlox are one of midsummer's best bloomers.

• Buttered Popcorn Daylily: Descriptive name for the huge flowers of this heavy producer.

• Giant Fleeceflower Persicaria: A lesser-known large perennial that deserves increased planting.

• Never Alone Rose: Canadian shrub rose with interesting red/white bicolor flowers.

• Canada Blooms Rose: Hardy shrub rose with improved flower form and fragrance.

• Stargazer Lily: Fills the flowerbed with fragrance.

• Casa Blanca Lily: Oriental-type lilies appreciate winter mulch, but the extra effort is well-rewarded.