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This is a rounded, semi-evergreen shrub to 10 feet tall and 12 feet wide with glossy, dark green leaves. From midsummer to autumn, it produces fragrant, funnel-shaped white flowers that are tinged with pink.
'Confetti' offers finely textured medium green foliage variegated with creamy white and pink. Pale pink tubular flowers appear in late summer or fall. This rounded, semi-evergreen shrub grows to about 3 feet tall and 4 feet wide.
This deciduous shrub is related to the forsythia, but differs in that it has white (rather than yellow) flowers that open in early spring before true forsythia. It is a member of the olive family (Oleaceae). In early spring, before the new leaves form, purplish buds all along the grey naked branches open into small white four-petaled, almond-scented flowers with yellow stamens. After flowering, green, glossy abelia-like leaves appear.
This New Zealand native subshrub has 3-inch-wide scalloped leaves and little purple-brown to pale olive leaflets. Its rhizomatous roots spread in a mat to support this plant's wonderful ground-cover form. In early summer, 3/4-inch-wide flowers appear on short stems, and brownish green sepals and white anthers contrast with the dark leaves. The rhizomatous roots of this plant spread slowly into a mat, forming a nice ground cover. Prune every five years or so for a neat appearance; little other care is required. -Gerald Gibbens, Regional Picks: Northwest, Fine Gardening issue #120
Acanthus mollis is prized for its bold clumps of shiny green leaves topped with striking, 3-foot-tall spires of white flowers which are clasped by showy purple bracts. This is a great plant for an eye-catching structural element in a part-shade border.
With their white margins and mottling, the jagged leaves of 'Tasmanian Angel' are a real showshopper, and in late summer, 3-foot-tall, pink-and-cream flower stalks heighten the effect. The variegation may be less pronounced as the leaves age, but the plant still draws the eye. Use it as a multiseason container specimen or as a bedding plant. -Allan Armitage, Plants to know and grow, Fine Gardening issue #119
This slow-growing understory tree has highly ornamental, peeling orange-cinnamon bark. Its dark green, three-lobed leaves turn a brilliant orange-red in autumn.
This Japanese maple has long-lobed, deeply divided leaves that are cherry red in the spring, a perfect contrast to the pea green bark. In summer the foliage changes slowly from red to green and back to red in fall. The habit is wide spreading with pendulous branches providing movement in the least of wind. Though slow to mature, it is an easy tree to grow and a striking beauty.
The foliage is bright strawberry red at first emergence, and slowly pink suffuses each leaf along the vein as the spring progresses. Graceful deeply divided leaves with serrated edges gently curve at the tips. In its mature form, this tree will most likely have wide spreading with cascading branches (Because this is a new cultivar and Japanese maples can be very slow growing, accurate information about this tree’s maturity can be difficult to come by) . This cultivar is a seedling from ‘Aka shigitatsu sawa’.
This is a rounded to open-crown deciduous tree up to 70 feet tall and 30 feet wide with early, brilliant red fall coloring.
The 'Caddo' maple typically reaches a mature height of 30 feet and spread of 25 feet, but may be taller. Its star-shaped leaves turn under slightly at the edges, and turn muted yellow to orange in the fall that can be spectacular. Its crown is oval-shaped, with an upright/erect growth habit. This moderately drought-tolerant maple is a great street or shade tree.
'Caddo' maples, native to southwestern Oklahoma, are well-adapted to heat and drought, and resistant to leaf tatter and scortch common among many maples. The leaves are dark green, leathery, and deeply lobed.
If your shade garden needs a focal point, consider this small, rounded Japanese maple, with its lime-to-chartreuse-tinged golden leaves. In fall, its leaves turn orange and red, just like those of a sugar maple. This variety, like other small Japanese maples, needs shade and protection from sun and drying winds to keep the foliage from curling and turning brown at the edges. -Michael Ruggiero, Regional Picks: Mid-Atlantic, Fine Gardening issue #127
Leaves emerge a lovely pastel orange, changing to stunning bright yellow through the summer with red seeds that push up above the leaves. Introduced by Fratelli Ghiradelli and named after his son, this tree provides a big splash of color and thrives with full sun. It's a vigorous upright tree. At last a yellow tree for the colder climates!
This tree offers many reasons to get excited:bright red spring foliage, wonderful chartreuse summer color, a vigorous growth habit, and an increased sun tolerance. It has a big, beautiful open form, similar to Aureum.
Compact and rounded, the Shantung maple reaches a mature height and spread of 25 feet by 30 feet. The leaves grow to 5 inches long and have five to seven lobes, resembling the leaves of the Sweetgum (Liquidambar styraciflua). Leaves emerge purple in spring and become glossy and medium green during the growing season. In autumn, the starry leaves blaze into shades of yellow and orange, accented by reds and purples. Samara (fruit) are red.
This rhizomic, mat-forming and aggressive perennial frows to 2 feet tall and wide with ferny, finely-textured, green foliage. Flowers are produced in flat corymbs in early to late summer.
This popular gray-leaved yarrow has 18-inch-tall yellow flower heads that last for several weeks in late summer.
Actaea rubra bears white flowers from spring to early summer on plants up to 2 feet tall and 1 foot wide. In late summer, glossy red berries develop. A few cultivars exist. This woodland perennial is native to the U.S.
This chocolate-leaved cultivar up to 4 feet tall and 2 feet wide bears compact spikes of white flowers in late summer. This plant may languish in very warm temperatures. The flowers remain ornamental for three to four weeks.
This is an elegant, deciduous fern with medium green fronds on dark brown or black stalks with thick creeping rhizomes. It provides a distinct form in a woodland setting or shaded border.
Experts Pick Their Favorite Plants
We asked 42 gardening experts from around the country to select their favorite plants. Now you can see the complete results of the survey.
Conifers for Shade
Yes, you can grow evergreen trees and shrubs in shade. Who knew?
by Christine Froehlich
Sweetly Scented Annuals
Pique your senses all season long with colorful, long-blooming beauties
by Danielle Ferguson
4 Ways to Design with Coleus
If you're having trouble finding the right plant for the right place, this versatile performer offers a multitude of options
by Ray Rogers
How to Prune Conifers
These plants are unforgiving, so make the right cuts for the right reasons
by Bert Cregg
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