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This clump-forming perennial produces many weeks of daisy-like flowers in summer. It is great in borders and works well as a cut flower.
This plant bears terminal racemes of two to three nodding blue flowers, sometimes with white tips.
Rocky Mountain columbine is a beautiful, hearty, native perennial with blue and white flowers. It self-sows readily.
This airy perennial has ternate dark green leaves, and produces many nodding flowers from midspring to midsummer. Its scarlet flowers have yellow, downward-pointing sepals.
This airy perennial has delicate dark-green leaves and many nodding, light-yellow flowers from mid-spring to midsummer.
A. chrysantha is a vigorous grower that will add a real burst of color to any southern garden. This southwestern U.S. native has 3-inch yellow flowers in spring and reaches almost 3 feet tall.
The fan columbine produces short, plump, nodding, blue-purple flowers with white petal tips.
This species of Aquilegia is short lived, but its bright yellow, fragrant flowers with elongated spurs will be a vibrant addition to your garden.
Usually this plant produces nodding blue and white flowers, but color variation is common in this species.
The textural quality of this eastern native's stems and foliage is superb. During winter, a circle of the thorn-covered stems is as magical as an outdoor sculpture. Dark blue-green compound leaves offer a tropical effect before turning yellow and purple in autumn. One-foot-wide flower clusters sit atop the foliage in summer and transform into purple-black fruits that attract birds. Aralia spinosa grows to 30 feet tall and spreads indefinitely.
This is a fine plant for cascading over the edge of a wall. It's a hardy, prostrate shrub with intricate branching that often forms mats up to 3 feet wide, by runners. Fragrant, white bell-shaped flowers tinged with pink are borne in May and followed later in the season by red berries. The common bearberry's stunning red stems are studded with small, glossy, evergreen leaves.
A favorite of children, Jack-in-the-pulpit is a tuberous perennial producing one or two leaves, each divided into three narrow leaflets. But it's best known for its spring to early summer display of hooded, green spathes—Jack's pulpit—which are often striped with purple. Autumn brings clusters of densely packed, showy red berries.
This plant's large, undulating leaves are textured like puckered crepe paper. Moreover, they resemble designer textiles with splendid splashes of cream and dark green. This has to be the queen of variegated plants.
Fragrant white flowers in spring, red fall foliage, and persistent berries for winter interest make Aronia a valuable plant in all seasons.
This is a woody plant with dense clumps of silver-gray leaves. It makes a great border accent.
Artemisia absinthium is a woody perennial with finely cut, silvery-gray, aromatic foliage. Its small yellow flowers have little ornamental value. Wormwood is useful in beds, borders, and rock gardens, and it makes an excellent foil for bright colors and dark foliage. This plant needs excellent drainage.
This is a high-drama native. Its gracious, high-impact, powdery-white shrubby mounded foliage grows to 4 feet tall.
Goat's beard is a perennial native to eastern North America and parts of Europe and Siberia. It is grown for its tall stature (up to 6 feet) and showy, cream-colored plumes of flowers in summer. The effect is that of a giant astilbe. Plants with male flowers produce showier and more erect plumes than plants with female flowers, whose plumes are more pendent and less creamy-white. Grow in a woodland garden or moist border, or at waterside.
European wild ginger is a low-growing groundcover with glossy, evergreen, heart-shaped leaves. Its unusual purple-brown flowers lie mostly concealed beneath foliage.
Asparagus is a perennial vegetable whose edible shoots are harvested in spring. Male plants produce better crop yields because they do not flower or fruit. The foliage is garden worthy because of its tall size and masses of feathery, delicate texture. Female plants may self-seed abundantly. Plants do not like to be moved, so choose a permanent location. Foliage is useful in floral arrangements.
Building Better Borders
Use plant combinations that focus on complementary colors, textures, and forms
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