The Plant Olympics

The 2020 Olympics are finally happening in 2021 and we couldn’t be more inspired by how team USA is showing their talent and sportsmanship in Tokyo this summer. Since these games are so inspiring to our country, we wanted to host our own Plant Olympics here at McDonald Garden Center to see what plants are the podium winners of summer 2021! 

We are starting out with our perennials category, when looking at winning perennials, our experts want long-lasting color and reliability throughout the seasons. Even when these perennials are not blooming, they still need to be a staple in any garden or patio. For more information on our favorite perennial plants, check out Mike, the Garden Guru’s seminar on Tried and True Perennials here


In bronze we have… Canna Lilies! 

Canna lilies really show their strength with their outstanding colors of red, orange, pink, and yellow. This intense color also extends to their foliage from bright greens to dark burgundy. Cannas love sunny weather and lots of water. They can even thrive around pond beds! 


In silver we have… Perennial Hibiscus! 

Perennial Hibiscus has won the silver because of its variety of colors and absolutely enormous blooms! With this tropical paradise of a plant, you enjoy an ombre of colors from white to pinks and even yellows. Not to mention the dinner-plate size of their blooms throughout summer. Even in the off-season without blooms, the perennial hibiscus provides color and interesting textures through its foliage.


And finally in gold we have… Coneflowers! 

Coneflowers are an all-time favorite perennial for our staff and customers. With the widest variety of colors and being built to last through the non-blooming months, coneflowers steal the show for favorite summer perennial! Plant in full sun and water often during the heat of the summer for that extra pop in your beds or containers. This perennial takes the gold with the addition of being a pollinator favorite! 



For our annuals, our experts are looking for long-lasting, intense blooms along with their tenacity against the summer heat. There are so many beautiful annuals to judge from that it was difficult to pick our podium. However, in the heat of the summer, annuals need to be tough to step up to the competition. 


For bronze we have...Hanging Baskets!

Hanging baskets come in many shapes and sizes as well as a variety of plants. Many of our hanging baskets contain anything from begonias to petunias and these bloomers are great contenders against the competition. Hanging baskets also provide vertical interest to your patio or garden, making them a shoe-in for bronze! For more information on our annual hanging baskets and how to use them, check out Mike, the Garden Guru’s seminar on Creative Ways to use Hanging Baskets here.


For silver we have...Purslane!

Purslane is the underdog of annuals with their absolute tough nature in the heat of the summer. With this toughness, they can withstand great measures of weather as well as looking beautiful while doing so. With their intriguing succulent-like leaves and brightly colored blooms, this annual is definitely podium material! 


And finally in gold we have...Lantana! 

Lantana is a beautiful and functional all-around annual. Not only can you place these plants in almost any container or garden bed with full sun, but they also provide intense, long-lasting color throughout the season with the added benefit of being a butterfly magnet!



In our final category of trees and shrubs, we have an intense lineup of possible podium candidates. For trees and shrubs in the summer months, our experts are looking for big bloomers with a lot of personality. Not only does this tree or shrub need to make an impact, but it needs to be built to last. 


For bronze we have...Roses! 

This classic shrub is always a contender for the podium. With their wide variety of attractive blooms, it’s hard not to receive a medal. Along with their blooms, roses are tough as nails with being able to hold up in a wide variety of environments.


For silver we have...Hydrangeas! 

You can never go wrong with a hydrangea, especially in the Hampton Roads area. Hydrangeas have a variety of bloom shapes and colors in the summer seasons and in the off-seasons they can provide bright and bold foliage as well! These shrubs can be pruned to any size and can be customizable for your shady garden beds. 


And finally for the gold...Abelia! 

Abelia is our gold medalist for trees and shrubs! This shrub doesn’t only bloom in the summer, but their foliage also changes color as the season's progress. This shrub provides a wide variety of textures and colors from beds to containers. The versatility of this plant makes it a perfect choice for our top podium placement! 


For more information on our favorite shrubs, visit this seminar hosted by Mike, the Garden Guru here