By Les Parks
Curator of Herbaceous Plants
If you visit the Norfolk Botanical Garden at this time of year, you are likely to see our gardeners planting thousands of summer annuals. /// Some visitors may question spending time and money planting something that will live only until the first frost, especially when things more permanent, such as perennials, could be planted. However, there are few perennials that will give you color throughout the summer the way many annuals will. /// Through trial and error, we have developed a go-to list of annuals that not only give us great color, either from flowers or foliage, but also thrive in the heat and humidity of a long Hampton Roads summer.
1 Lantana This robust sun lover comes in a range of colors and will bloom from May until October (sometimes later). Depending on the variety, lantanas can be low and spreading, or compact and rounded, and there is even a truly hardy variety named “Miss Huff” that obtains shrub size. Our current favorite is “Landmark Sunrise Rose,” which is a reliable parade of pink, orange, and yellow.