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Hens & chicks are always a welcome sight, and this exciting 'Black' variety is a newer take on the old favorite.
This shade-loving perennial produces plumes of creamy white blossoms in spring, followed by mottled yellowish-green berries that turn to deep red. The fragrant, ivory white blossoms occur on the ends of arching branches, distinguishing them from true Solomon's seal (Polygonatum). The plant grows to 3 feet high and 2 feet wide.
In early autumn, this species produces elegant, wand-shaped flowerheads atop wiry stems with blue-green, linear leaves. It is found in open woods and along woodland edges, and prefers some shade. It responds well to rich soil, but can tolerate dry soil also.
'Goldrush' heralds the coming of fall with masses of tiny, yellow flowers for four weeks in August and September. Its compact size—about a foot tall—makes it a great candidate for a rock garden or border edge.
This species is aptly named for its distinctive crooked stems that bend back and forth at 45° angles between nodes. It bears starry, medium-yellow flowers atop 1- to 3-foot tall stems.
This is the first goldenrod to bloom, featuring bright yellow, plume-like panicles in midsummer. It has dark green leaves along reddish stems, which form a vase-shaped clump when mature.
This is one of the smallest species of goldenrod, topping out at only 4 to 6 inches high in poor soils, and 2 feet high in fertile soils. It is considered a garden-worthy species, with gray-green leaves that form clumps and languid, one-sided yellow plumes. It is tolerant of both sandy and clay soils.
This lovely goldenrod has velvety leaves that are gray-green in summer and dusky rose in autumn. It has broad, flattened clusters of rich yellow flowers, which create a striking display on stems 2 to 5 feet tall.
This species has open, tree-shaped flower clusters that radiate out like a fountain. It has given rise to S. rugosa 'Fireworks'. It can grow to 7 feet tall and blooms in mid- to late autumn.
This garden-worthy species has dramatic, bright yellow flowers that are arranged into erect, pointed clusters. It has deep reddish stems that grow to 3 feet tall. It blooms in late summer and early autumn.
This outstanding cultivar forms a neat, 1-foot tall groundcover. It has dense, branched panicles that splay upward and outward whimsically, resembling a mass of elegantly bunched bouquets.
If you like plants that stay in tidy, little assigned corners, this is not the plant for you. But if you have a large space to fill and love plants with attitude, this is your baby. False spireas form large masses of arching branches that are covered with green pinnate leaves. Billowy white sprays of flowers appear in mid- to late summer. Mature plants spread where you let them. There is a wide range of closely related species and selections, but there’s not much difference between them.
Golden yellow plumes and a vase-like form give 'Indian Steel' a refined look. On the flower spikes, bright yellow pollen sacs stand out against the darker seed heads. Metallic blue foliage morphs to a coppery tan shade after frost. 'Indian Steel' tolerates a range of soil types, including heavy clay. -Scott Vogt, Native grasses, Fine Gardening issue #124
If you want a summer-flowering shrub with great fall color, look no further. Fritsch spirea jumps out with a striking red, orange, and yellow glow even brighter than the fall color of oaks and maples. It has coarser foliage than others in the genus, and if sheared back in spring, it produces giant summer blooms.
This low-growing, clump-forming shrub has a spreading habit, reaching 10 inches tall. Slender branches spread across the ground. Foliage is light blue-green to 1 inch long. In late June, this plant bears clusters of pink flowers; bloom continues into September if deadheaded.
This fast-growing, upright specimen has very attractive small, blunt, dark blue-green leaves and arching branches. Bowl-shaped, pure white flowers are borne midsummer in large numbers. They attract butterflies.
This deciduous, terrestrial orchid has linear, acute leaves 2 to 10 inches long. At summer's end, it produces sweet, vanilla-scented, 1- to 3-foot spires of white flowers that last for weeks and hold up well as cut flowers.
This mat-forming perennial has rosettes of furry, silvery-gray leaves to 4 inches long. In summer, it bears gray spikes tipped with tiny, pink-purple or violet flowers. This plant crowds out weeds. 'Silver Carpet' is a non-flowering cultivar. 'Big Ears' has 8- to 12-inch-long, grayish-white felted, mid-green leaves.
This decidous, thicket-forming shrub has attractive wavy-margined leaves that resemble maple leaves and have good orange-yellow fall color. Cutleaf stephanandra grows to less than 2 feet tall but spreads by suckering. Flowers are unremarkable at a distance, but attractive close-up. In winter, the rich brown, arching shoots draw the eye.
Chenault coralberry is an undemanding workhorse. This 2-foot-tall shrub spreads about 10 feet without causing any trouble. It does an excellent job of covering ground and smothering weeds while eliminating erosion. In late summer, small pink flowers appear and are followed by rosy red fruit.
Building Better Borders
Use plant combinations that focus on complementary colors, textures, and forms
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