High summer flowers featured at Mill Pond Garden June 26

June 20, 2022

To celebrate the high summer flowers in season, Mill Pond Garden will open to welcome visitors from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m., Sunday, June 26, at 31401 Melloy Court, Lewes.

Tickets, available at, are $15 to admit a vehicle with up to six visitors.

Guests will experience glorious flowering shrubs and perennials of high summer along with many water features, frogs, turtles, fish, birds, butterflies and other pollinators while enjoying vistas over the beautiful Red Mill Pond.

The new epiphyte garden, a rare botanical experience, is displaying the tropical plants that grow on tree limbs in the canopy of North American jungles from the southern U.S. states to Central America. They include colorful orchids, mosses, creepers, ferns and bromeliads including tillandsia (air plants) and Spanish moss. The term "air plant" refers to hundreds of species of flowering perennial plants that require no soil for their roots. Instead, they extract moisture from the air, and food from debris and dust particles. Epiphytes make tough, beautiful, easy-care houseplants and are increasingly available in large and smaller nurseries, including locally at Peppers Greenhouses near Milton.

Summer gardens in the Cape Region are now enlivened by the colors of daylilies, hydrangeas, crocosmia, water lilies, roses, hibiscus, lavender, crape myrtles, salvia, butterfly weed and more.

Hydrangeas are the dominant shrub in flower now, blooming from about mid-June to late October or longer, going through color changes. They provide the anchor of summer color, and few shrubs or flowering plants can equal their longevity of display. Sometimes their big round flower heads look good all winter when the sun has bleached them to a pleasant straw color.

Most hydrangeas, ones with many canes from the ground instead of a trunk with branches, are best supported with a sturdy stake inside the shrub and a strong cord looping out to secure the many canes so the plant does not collapse open under the weight of its flowers. 

Tall phlox, a native American perennial, is another summer garden staple which Mill Pond garden recommends highly since it flowers from mid-June to late September and is very attractive to pollinators. In many varieties of color and size, phlox is also deliciously fragrant, especially in masses. Phlox likes good drainage, compost-enriched soil, good air circulation and at least six hours of direct sun. 

Lilies bloom for about 10 days; they are spectacular in size and shape, and often strongly fragrant. They make great accent plants in successions of early, middle and late-season blooming types starting about early June to mid-August. Mill Pond Garden recommends particularly the hybrid Orienpet types, also called tree lilies, for their sturdy stems that do not need to be staked and tied. Lilies like sunny, well-drained sites with compost-enriched soil. Water only in drought. 

Choosing plants for a garden is most aided by visiting other gardens in the area to see how various plants perform. Providing a reference for good performance is part of the educational mission of a public garden, a place to get inspiration, ideas about design, plant choices, and to get useful professional horticultural information. Mill Pond Garden is a botanical library for what works in the Cape Region, and a joy to all the senses.


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