Plant of the Week: MIDNIGHT SUN™ Weigela

The summer solstice is almost here. Tuesday, June 21, is the official start of summer and the longest day of the year. But first, we have Father’s Day on Sunday, June 19. Midnight Sun™ weigela is a great plant for dads, providing lots of reliable foliage color that will make their yards look great with very little maintenance.

Midnight Sun™ weigela does produce pink flowers in spring, but it’s primarily a foliage plant. Think of it as a coleus that you don’t have to replant. Most dads would be all about that – saving money and not having to replant each year. Sign them up!

This plant is perfectly sized for many landscaping uses; at 1-1.5′ tall and wide, it really is about the same size as that coleus it will replace. Since it’s hardy in USDA 4-8, it will look great for years, not just a season. Note that you will get the best color in full sun.

The Longest Day

People are fond of saying the summer solstice is the longest day of the year, when in fact, it is equally as long as any other day. It’s the longest period of sunlight hours. But I guess that doesn’t sound as good.

Nonetheless, all that extra sunlight can really come in handy! There are plenty of things you can do with that “extra time.” Here are five suggestions:

  1. Watch the sunrise or sunset – Enjoy the blazing hues of nature as the sun comes up or goes down. I live by the shores of Lake Michigan, so the sunrise and sunset are especially stunning.
  2. Host a cookout or have a picnic– This is one of the most popular ideas for celebrating the solstice; it’s a fun, sociable way for everyone to enjoy the extra hours of daylight.
  3. Finish that landscaping or gardening project – If you’re like me, you started a landscaping project over the long Memorial Day weekend, and there it sits, unfinished. Make good use of the extra daylight and knock out a couple of hours of gardening. You’ll be glad you did!
  4. Take the longest day off work and be a day-tripper – Take a one-day staycation and go to the local places you’ve been meaning to visit – a botanical garden, museum, park, zoo, or a historical site.
  5. Start a team to support the Alzheimer’s Association – The Longest Day is a day-long event and fundraiser devoted to raising awareness of Alzheimer’s disease, highlighting the challenges that sufferers and caregivers face. It’s a very meaningful activity for the summer solstice, particularly if someone close to you is affected.

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