Summer is the season of unrestrained color, when most beds and borders are at their best. If well planted, the garden should provide a succession of flowers that lasts for months on end.
Planting a mix of herbaceous perennials and annuals is a quick and easy way to provide striking contrasts. Color-themed plantings that use a restricted color palette are effective at creating different moods. Contrasting colors evoke drama, while those that blend together produce a more relaxed feel.
Many perennials run out of steam as the summer progresses, especially in times of drought or extreme heat. Others, though, can be relied on to flower well into fall, especially those that are natives of warmer climates, such as Crocosmia and Rudbeckia.
Without some order, too many bright flowers can become rather overpowering, especially in a small space. The mitigating effect of foliage can help create a calmer effect, softening bright colors. Silvery leaves, such as those of Artemisia, used with whites, creams, and pale pinks produce a cool feel; deep green foliage contrasts well with brightly colored flowers.
Summer-flowering bulbs, such as lilies, gladioli, and Galtonia, are often overlooked but, planted directly into borders or put in pots and plunged into the ground, they pack a powerful punch of color.