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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
About a third the size of the more well known A. mollis, A. alpina has delicate leaves edged in brilliant silver.
For long-lasting bright yellow flowers that sparkle in midsummer, try Allium moly. It is robust, hardy, and an excellent cut flower, naturalizing and increasing happily in the sun in most garden soils. The cultivar 'Jeannine' flowers earlier and produces larger umbels on sturdier stems.
This shrubby tree has leaves that emerge bronze, mature green, and fade to orange and red in autumn. It bears 3-inch-long racemes of white flowers in spring, followed by edible, juicy blue-black fruit.
A compact shrub form of serviceberry, 'Regent' produces finely toothed, rounded leaves that are bluish on top and gray-green on the bottom. In fall, they change to vibrant yellow and red. Spring finds the shrub sporting white flowers in upright clusters that give way to fruit in June. Birds as well as humans appreciate the tasty berries, which make great jellies and jams and are more abundant in full sun. This plant is native to the Great Plains and tolerates harsh, dry, or alkaline conditions when mature.
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 airy perennial has ternate dark green leaves, and produces many nodding flowers from midspring to midsummer. Its scarlet flowers have yellow, downward-pointing sepals.
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.
Usually this plant produces nodding blue and white flowers, but color variation is common in this species.
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.
Tatarian aster is an impressive, stately perennial with a flowering height of 3 to 6 feet. It can look you in the eye yet require no staking. More important, this aster flowers longer than any other garden aster, beginning in late September and early October and continuing into November. The 1-inch-wide, light lavender flowers are a magnet for local and migrating monarch butterflies. This plant tolerates many soil types, can form large colonies in a few years, and is easily divided.
False blue indigo's spikes of clear blue flowers in late spring can nearly carry a border by themselves. They also make great cut flowers. Large, inflated nearly black seed pods set in after flowering, giving this plant another interesting element. It is low maintenance and will look great in any natural or informal setting.
This plant is one of the most popular campanulas. Its stiff mat of slowly spreading evergreen rosettes is topped by 3-foot-tall, all open, bell-shaped lavender to white flowers in late spring.
Serbian bellflowers have an easy, undemanding habit. Creating a stream of lavender blue, the 1-inch-diameter star-shaped blossoms bloom reliably from late spring to early fall. The foliage remains evergreen in mild winters and needs to be sheared only once in a while to keep its appearance tidy. 'Blue Waterfall' flows beautifully along bed edges and through rock gardens in full sun to partial shade.
Mountain bluet is an excellent choice for the border or rock garden. Blue flowers open from attractive buds in late spring to midsummer, then leave behind a mass of vigorous, silvery-green woolly foliage and woolly stems.
The blooms of this familiar perennial are not the standard blue; instead, they’re a striking silky white with royal purple centers. The flowers appear in late spring, then leave behind a mass of vigorous silvery green foliage.
Clematis integrifolia is no longer only blue. This selection produces progeny with pink, white, and lavender blooms from midspring until late summer. The flowers are followed by attractive seed heads in fall. It has a compact, herbaceous form and grows to just 10 to 14 inches tall.
This upright, suckering shrub has fragrant, white or pink terminal flower spikes in late summer. The blooms look like bottle brushes and attract butterflies and bees. Leaves turn a pleasant yellow in autumn.
This upright, suckering shrub bears creamy white, deliciously spicy clove-scented flowers in dense, upright spikes that last four to six weeks in July and August. It is more compact than the species. Flowers mature to spikes of dark brown capsules that provide winter interest. Its oval, glossy dark green leaves turn a pleasant yellow in autumn.
Very fragrant, light pink bottlebrush flowers grace this native shrub in late summer and early fall, attracting butterflies and other insects and perfuming the garden for weeks. Plant it in beds or borders, in a woodland or shade garden, or at waterside. It also has nice fall color.
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