Summer Garden secrets. What is the secret to a beautiful summer garden? Is it the number and size of the plants? Could it be the type of pots and grandeur of your garden decor? The answer may surprise you.

I think the secret to a beautiful garden is the amount of time you spend enjoying it. Each of us have our own ideas as to what makes a beautiful garden and that is exactly how it should be.

My Ideal Summer Garden

garden path through a lush, drought tolerant array of color flowers and green foliage

My ideal Garden it is an over-grown affair full of lush green and lots and lots of color. Using a combination of annuals and perennials like sunflowers, dahlias, cosmos, calendula, zinnias, daisies, hollyhocks, alyssum and marigolds will fill your garden (and vases) with a profusion of color, fragrance and the vibrancy of a warm summer’s day. Decorating with flowers picked from your own garden is pretty irresistible too.

Edible garden overflowing with summer goodness, beans, cucumbers, tomatoes and herbs

This summer season also brings to mind veggie gardens filled to the brim with the bounty of the season: tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, squash and beans bursting with juicy goodness just waiting to be harvested. Trees laden with fruit are ripening and the fragrance entices. Go ahead and bite into one of those sun-warmed nuggets of goodness and as juice drips down your face and arms, splurge on it! That is the embodiment of summer pleasure.

Heirloom tomatoes, garden fresh basil, arugula, fresh mozzarella and olive oil summer on a plate

Then, there are the meals made from this plethora of garden produce, dishes that can only be created in this season; delights that scream simplicity and highlight the freshness of ingredients without a lot of fuss. Succulent, ripe heirloom tomatoes over Burratta or Mozzarella sprinkled with fresh basil and slathered with really good Olive oil from Il Fustino (FYI, C’est Cheese and Metropulos both carry freshly-made Burratta and Mozzarella). Summer fruit brushed with butter and grilled until it literally bursts with a drizzle of honey and perhaps some homemade ice cream and you have heaven on a plate. That’s my idea of embracing summer!

Viva La Fiestas of Summer

With warm evenings come summer parties and Santa Barbara’s citywide shindig, Old Spanish Days. Fiesta is a weeklong celebration of our heritage as a town, which began 230 years ago with the founding of the tenth California mission dedicated to Saint Barbara. With our roots firmly grounded in Spanish and Mexican culture, our architecture reflects the influence, as does our food. It’s the perfect combination of ingredients for a fabulous party.

As summer parties are generally outdoor fetes, a glorious garden is a must for the requisite festive atmosphere. No matter the size and scope of your space you can have a vibrant, colorful garden befitting any summer fun you have planned.

Quick Garden Pick-me-up

pots of ivy geranium give quick color to any garden

For a quick garden party pick-me-up, try using pots of flowering plants in your favorite hues. Ivy Geranium is easy, drought tolerant and comes in a variety of gorgeous, vivid colors ranging from rich reds, to pinks, lavenders and even white which add that spark of excitement to any garden. Here’s a garden design tip: if the desired effect is formality, select one color (such as white or even red) in your flower garden, pots and arrangements. If instead you are going for a more exuberant vibe, go crazy with any colors you like. If Geraniums aren’t “your thing” try petunias, daisies or even colorful succulents to spice up your summer garden party.

The Secret to a Beautiful Garden

pots of ivy geranium provide year round color and plenty of picking flowers

Ivy Geranium are the flower lovers delight

Want to know the secret to a beautiful garden? Get interested; generate some enthusiasm, start dreaming and imagining what you want, then start creating it. There are some who bemoan the lack of water and their dead lawns. Well okay, your lawn has seen better days. Instead of focusing on what you can’t have, put attention on what you CAN have and you CAN have a beautiful garden. All it takes is a little imagination and some inspiration. I hope I have helped you with a little of both. Here’s to a beautiful garden and a beautiful summer. Until next time, fill your garden with joy. xo Lisa