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Wood spurge is a soft, hairy, evergreen perennial with red-tinged stems and matte dark green leaves with red tones underneath. In mid-spring to early summer, it produces 8-inch-tall, greenish-yellow bracts.
This cultivar has a compact, bushy habit to 20 inches tall and purple-red flushed leaves, especially on new growth and in winter. It produces yellow bracts in mid-spring and early summer.
This species produces erects stems of bronzy green leaves and greenish yellow bracts in early summer. In autumn, its leaves turn shades of red, orange, and gold.
This notable species produces erect stems of bronzy burgundy leaves and purple-green bracts in early summer. It looks exceptional when placed near contrasting plants. The foliage may be cut back after flowering to produce fresh growth.
This species has red stems and dark green leaves, which emerge in spring with a reddish tinge. In early summer, it bears conspicuous bracts of orange-red or red.
'Fireglow' bears conspicuous bracts in vivid orange-fuchsia in early summer. It has red stems and dark green leaves, which emerge in spring with a reddish tinge.
Long-lasting, terminal clusters of lime green bracts and flowers punctuate the meandering 'arms' of this ground-hugging species. The chalky seafoam foliage looks great spilling over a stone wall in a rock garden or at the edge of any bed.
This robust perennial forms a large shrub that adds a nice textural element to the back of the border. In early spring it produces 6-inch-wide, vivid yellow bracts.
Electric yellow bracts bloom on a low cushion in April and persist, but gently fade as the stems elongate to form a 16-inch mound by midsummer. The leaves produce shades of red, orange, and purple in autumn.
'Purple Fountain' is a deciduous, columnar, dark-leaved tree with bronze-purple, wavy margined leaves and cascading branches. Leaves become more green as summer wears on. It can be used as a specimen tree or for pleaching. It is similar to the purple weeping beech but is much more columnar. Fall color is yellow, then orange-brown.
This striking clump-forming bamboo, with olive-purple stems, dark green leaves, and an upright habit, is suitable for screening. May be grown in a container if provided with adequate moisture.
Regarded by some as the bluest blue fescue, this plant forms compact, cascading mounds of foot-tall, intensely blue, narrow leaves that are attractive in all seasons. Blooms are generally secondary to the foliage, but this cultivar blooms more heavily than most, with spikelets in summer. This cultivar is long-lived and very hardy. Grow in groups in a border or rock garden, or as a groundcover.
These compact tufts of 8-inch-long powder-blue leaves are well suited for edging and naturalizing in the rock garden.
This sturdy groundcover is fast becoming one of the most dependable grasses for creating drought-tolerant meadows. Clumping evergreen foliage is a rich khaki green and grows in an arching clump. The flowers, while noticeable, are not showy. Atlas fescue is at its best in groups and grows in all but hot, humid, and low desert climates.
Like other cultivars of this genus, 'Courtasol' is as tough as nails. The biggest difference from the rest, however, lies in its form. The stems reach to only 18 inches tall before arching down to the ground and running along to yield a 5-foot-wide spread. Its grapefruit yellow flowers appear in early spring.
Striking, extra-large yellow blooms cover each stem from base to tip in early spring.
Its blaze of yellow flowers is surely one of the first harbingers of spring. Forsythia are widely recognized for their utility in a shrub border, a bank, or for hedging, and their light to deep yellow, four-petaled flowers.
Fragrant, cylindrical inflorescences are made up of long, white filaments, and open before the leaves in spring. In autumn, the foliage shades range from blood red to blazing yellow, and every shade in between.
This cultivar of a favorite fall shrub has the same great spring flowers as the rest of the species. But its brilliant fall color remains longer and later than its cousins, holding its strong orange, red, and yellow tones into late November or even early December. 'Jane Platt' also features a mounding habit rather than the upright habit common to the species. Fothergillas are often recommended for shade, but this one is tough enough to be grown between rocks in hot, full sun.
This species draws much attention with its striking gaiety of color and form. Its large, bell-shaped flowers in shades of orange, yellow, and red dangle from tufts of shiny green leaf bracts. Sitting atop sturdy, 3-foot stalks, the flowers make a surprising and regal statement in the late spring garden.
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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