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Daylilies are classic, extremely popular garden plants. They feature long, arching, strappy leaves and long stems of generally 6-petaled flowers, though double flowers are popular as well. Each flower lasts only one day, hence the plant’s common name. Daylilies come in a wide range of colors, from cream and cheery yellow to peach, orange, fiery red, deep burgundy, pink, and purple. Some have contrasting throats and "eye-zones." Daylilies are ideal for a mixed herbaceous perennial border.
A hardy hibiscus, 'Kopper King' has leaves that are a coppery red on top and orange-red underneath. Large (10 to 12 inches across) ruffly white to pale pink flowers bloom from midsummer to mid-fall if you deadhead. 'Kopper King' dies back to the ground in autumn and is late to break dormancy in the spring. It should be interplanted with spring bulbs and overplanted with winter annuals; that way you'll get color year round without disturbing the hibiscus. -Pat McKernan, Regional Picks: Lower Plains, Fine Gardening issue #120
Perfectly round, puckered, bright-gold leaves have a pattern resembling seersucker fabric. Pale-lavender flowers appear in early summer.
A botanical giant, 'Sum and Substance' averages 30 inches tall by 60 inches wide, sometimes more. Upright, heart-shaped, flat leaves have a glossy chartreuse hue that changes to gold when exposed to more light. Near-white lilac blooms borne on leaning scapes 36 inches long appear from late July through mid-August.
This re-blooming mophead features inflorescences ranging 4-6 inches wide. Their color will be pink or blue depending on aluminum availability in soil. Compact habit with glossy dark green leaves.
This evergreen shrub has rich, bright-green fine-textured foliage in summer. The compact habit is fountain-like, as its branches arch at a 60° angle out from its base. Reaches a mature size of 4 to 5 feet tall and 6 to 8 feet wide.
'Shoosmith' is an evergreen shrub with a broad spreading habit, reaching 6 feet tall and 4 feet wide at maturity. Light-green juvenile foliage and rich dark-green adult foliage on the same plant creates a two-toned effect.
'Holger' is a prostrate shrub with a semi-spreading form and narrow pointed leaves. Young growth emerges a soft sulfur-yellow, contrasting with steel-blue mature leaves. This plant bears glossy black fruit.
The aptly named ‘The Rocket’ is virtually indestructible if sited in damp shade. In spring, toothed green foliage unfurls to form an attractive mound. Flowering begins in midsummer when stalks packed with little buds rise up to 4 feet tall. Little golden daisies, opening from bottom to top, shoot upward like rockets to the sky.
Often used by florists and for weddings, 'Casa Blanca' lily has large, pure white, scented flowers.
Often used by florists, 'Star Gazer' lily has bright crimson flowers with purple spots and dark edges. These lilies grow to about 3 feet tall, so they generally don't need staking.
Panicum Ruby Ribbons’ soft blue-green foliage emerges in the spring on upright, clumping plants. The foliage takes on a wine-red color in early summer, which intensifies as the season progresses. Flower heads appear in late summer, followed by ornamental seed heads, which, if left uncut, provide long-lasting winter interest.
This massive herbaceous shrub needs a lot of room to show off its vase-shaped form, but it does not spread or self-sow like some of its relatives. It blooms close to the ground from June and continues throughout the summer atop 6-foot-tall stems. The large, white, astilbe-like blossoms fade to pink and then reddish-brown as the season comes to a close.
Many gardeners know ninebark as an undistinguished shrub with ordinary green leaves, white flowers, and fall fruit. But 'Seward,' sold under the trademark name Summer WineTM, has outstanding burgundy leaves and pink flowers that bloom in early summer. This plant is super tough and makes a stunning focal point in a summer border.
A compact plant with a mature height of 8 feet, this conifer is densely globe-shaped when young, becoming pyramidal as it ages. Needles are soft green on top, bluish green at the bottom.
This spruce has blue foliage and drooping branches. It grows 3 or 4 inches a year, eventually spreading to about 8 feet wide and 4 feet tall, with silvery needles like its parent species.
This compact, rounded shrub produces reddish-purple buds that first open as soft-pink then mature to white. It grows to about 5 feet high and wide, making it a superb specimen for a container or small garden.
This choice rose has single, gently cupped light-pink flowers that exude an intense, clove-scented perfume. It blooms in spring and sporadically throughout the season, and produces red hips. In autumn, the foliage turns deep maroon, which changes to yellow tinged with coppery highlights. It grows to 3 to 4 feet high and wide.
'Agnes' is one of the few yellow rugosa roses, and it epitomizes the finest rugosa attributes in both leaf and overall form. Doubled blooms give this selection an old-fashioned aspect, as does its delightful fragrance, which is reminiscent of antique roses. Bloom color changes somewhat with the temperature: in cool temperatures, the flowers are an apricot hue, but as the weather warms, they turn a soft yellow. -Suzanne Verrier, No muss, no fuss rugosa roses, Fine Gardening issue #121
Though not very well known, 'Dart's Dash' is one of the best of the crimson double rugosa roses. 'Dart's Dash' has large blossoms with the spicy scent typical of rugosas and when blooming is done, the plant puts forth a marvelous display of showy hips. It establishes itself quickly and is a fine choice for a low hedge. -Suzanne Verrier, No muss, no fuss rugosa roses, Fine Gardening issue #121
Conifers for Shade
Yes, you can grow evergreen trees and shrubs in shade. Who knew?
by Christine Froehlich
10 Combinations for Shade
The secret is in using color to pump up the interest in low-light spots
by Inta Krombolz
Find spots in your garden for plants you thought you couldn’t grow
by Dan Johnson
Bringing Sun and Shade Together
Show off what these extremes have to offer, then unite them with some common ground
by Dan Johnson
Stylish Shady Containers
Low light doesn't have to cramp your creativity or limit your plant choices
by Karen Chapman
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