Portulacas should also be used in mass plantings, and they will often seed themselves for another great display next year. Mesembryanthemum, or 'Livingstone Daisy' also fits into this category of heat-loving plants. For shady areas, impatiens, browallia, balsam, tuberous begonias and coleus perform like magic with a minimum of water, once they are established. Be sure to check out the new sun-tolerant coleus varieties. At the outdoor trials in Chicago last year, it was 96°F., and these coleus were just soaking it up!
Wonderful old-fashioned cosmos is another great drought-tolerant plant. Try the 'Sensation' mix as a background plant, or use it here and there among your rhododendrons or shrubs for a charming effect. The new dwarf 'Sonata' series is truly spectacular also. No garden would be complete without salvia, and you can't plant salvia without its very best companion, Dusty Miller. Experiment with both 'Salsa' salvia and my favourite 'Victoria Blue', or try its new cousins, the more compact 'Rhea' or the blue and silver variety called 'Strata'. Did you know that fibrous begonias, geraniums, ivy geraniums, nicotianas, African daisies, Bachelor Buttons, cleome, zinnias, 'Triploid' marigolds and petunias are drought tolerant too? There is still plenty of time to add spots of colour to perk up your garden, and it's nice to know there are plants that love the summer heat.