Robust, heat-tolerant plants thrive in late summer’s swelter. Crape myrtles (Lagerstroemia indica), the medium sized, multi-stemmed small trees that dot the landscape, are heavy with blossoms in a range of colors from white to pink to purple. Although late 18th-century introductions, no Southern landscape is complete without them.
The favorite shrub of many of our grandmothers, the rose of Sharon (Hibiscus syriaca), blooms in shades of white, pink, red, and blue, in single and double forms. Another traditional perennial you will see in flower is the Joe-Pye weed (Eupatorium purpureum).
The Governor’s Palace always offers the flower-curious visitor vestiges of summer color. The perennial beds that outline the center annual beds still bear a multitude of summer phlox (Phlox paniculata), and bits of obedient plant (Physostegia virginiana).
At the Colonial Nursery, pots near the cistern bear tall, white flowered bulbs: the tuberoses (Polyanthus tuberosa).
Historical research has shown that 18th-century Williamsburg residents planted these in their gardens, storing the non-hardy bulbs in their basements.
Also in the Colonial Nursery, expect to see a wide collection of winter vegetables: purple-top turnips, broccoli, cauliflower, collards, parsnips, mustard, kale, spinach and salsify.