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'Princess Diana' is a steady bloomer from midsummer into early fall. Its compact habit makes it a good choice for large containers, but it will be just as happy in your perennial border.
Information provided by Brushwood Nursery
Alpine clematis is one of the earliest clematises to bloom, in early May. It bears relatively small but delightful nodding, bell-shaped flowers, 1 to 1.5 inches in diameter, in a great variety of colors.
Downy clematis is a hardy, deciduous early bloomer that can flourish in Zone 4. The species will climb to 10 feet with a little support, and it has bell-shaped, purple-blue, almost columbine-like flowers about 1 to 2 inches, sometimes up to 4 inches in diameter, that mature to fluffy, pinkish seed heads. Blooms appear in spring and early summer, sometimes followed by a second flush in late summer to early autumn
'Alba Luxurians' is a very tough, late-flowering climber with small flowers that open from midsummer to late autumn. White blossoms are sometimes faintly tinged with mauve when young, and are open, bell-shaped, single, and 2 to 3 inches across. Foliage is slightly gray-green.
'Coffee Cups' is an unusual and relatively recent introduction. It has nearly black stems and cup-shaped leaves. 'Coffee Cups' is a vigorous grower, and, with a height of 6 feet, it's a good choice for the back part of a border. -Andy Cabe, Regional Picks: Southeast, Fine Gardening issue #120
The heart-shaped leaves of 'Illustris' are huge, and their dark highlights are stunning. This elephant ear is a lover of moist shade, but does best with a little dappled sunlight. It will tolerate boggy conditions. -Julia Jones, Fine Gardening issue #120
This sweet potato vine is blessed with leaves that are edged in pink. Use it in containers, as a groundcover, or in beds and borders. Growing it with pink-flowered plants calls attention to the variegation.
This elephant ear has 2-foot-long, heart-shaped chartreuse leaves that flutter in the slightest breeze and seem to glow, even on cloudy days. It performs well in full sun and partial shade and doesn’t mind slightly acidic, rich, moist soil
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Deer resistant and dynamic, these bulbs provide color from the first showers of spring to the last leaves of fall
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These vibrant bloomers give even the showiest annuals and perennials a run for their money
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Two experts pick their favorites based on color, shape
by Francie Schroeder
Q&A Moving houseplants outdoors for the summer
by Tim Pollak
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