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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 rhizomatous, mat-forming, upright, aggressive perennial produces strong red flowers in flat corymbs in summer atop finely-textured, aromatic foliage.
This conical shrub to small tree has palmate leaves and bears red (sometimes yellow-marked) flowers in 6-inch panicles in summer, followed by smooth-skinned fruit. The flowers attract hummingbirds.
'Blue Fortune' produces spikes of powder-blue flowers held over large, deep green foliage. The plant stands approximately 36 inches tall with a mature width of 18 inches. Peak bloom occurs in midsummer when butterflies are plentiful.
This is a 36-inch-tall hyssop with showy rose-pink flower spikes in late summer and fall and licorice-mint scented foliage. It is native to New Mexico and western Texas and attracts butterflies and hummingbirds. Grow in a border, herb garden, rock garden, or butterfly garden. Rubbing the foliage on skin reportedly repels mosquitoes.
Anise hyssop has subtle but eye-catching chartreuse foliage. Its powder-blue, long-lasting flowers contrast nicely with its leaves.
This fast spreader has dark green leaves with deep blue flowers spring to summer.
Black foliage and spiky blue flowers (which appear in early summer) make a dramatic contrast. 'Black Scallop' thrives in full sun, which intensifies the black color. In full sun, the plant produces numerous runners, which should be thinned to prevent crown rot. In large plantings, you can run a rotary mower with a bagger attachment over the patch to control crowding and keep the foliage fresh. In mixed container plantings, the spilling habit of the plant makes it a standout choice. -Ron Smith, Regional Picks: Upper Plains, Fine Gardening issue #120
This plant produces dense clusters of bright blue flowerheads up to 1 inch wide. Its leaves clasp its stem and die back before flowering.
The drumstick allium has egg-shaped flowers in summer that start off green, then bloom and develop to pink and then clover red-purple. These plants are attractive in a bed or border, especially peeking up through other plants, such as roses, so that their nondescript foliage is hidden. Their vertical presence and eye-catching flower shape are valuable additions to the garden, and they naturalize freely.
This is the last of the ornamental onions to flower, when mop-like heads of rose-purple flowers appear with orange anthers. The flowers are impervious to frost or snow. Superior cultivars include ‘Ozawa’, with larger purple flower heads than the species. A white-flowered form known as A. thunbergii ‘Alba’ is a splendid plant, with cup-shaped florets sporting white stamens, yellow anthers, and green centers.
Chalk up another great plant introduction from the folks at Plant Delights Nursery in Raleigh, North Carolina. This dwarf blue star grows to only about half the size of the species, making it well suited for gardens with limited space. It performs best in full to partial sun and is appreciative of moist, well-drained soil. The sky blue flowers appear in early spring above the clean, dark green foliage. Try planting 'Short Stack' in a mess and along bed edges for a winning display.
In addition to willow blue-star’s small but charming clusters of blue flowers in late spring, it has upright, willow-like leaves that turn clear yellow in fall.
This plant produces a great low-growing mat of flowers. The cheerful starlike blossoms come in pink, blue, and white, and the attractive finely cut leaves disappear soon after flowering.
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.
The fan columbine produces short, plump, nodding, blue-purple flowers with white petal tips.
Usually this plant produces nodding blue and white flowers, but color variation is common in this species.
This plant flowers profusely and for an exceptionally long time, from early summer to mid-fall. Its flowers are violet-blue.
Building Better Borders
Use plant combinations that focus on complementary colors, textures, and forms
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by Phil Wood
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When starting a bed, choose the method that suits you best
by Steve Carroll
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