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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.
This tuberous begonia bears green heart-shaped foliage with red veining and claret-stained undersides that steal the show when backlit. Pendent clusters of slightly fragrant, satiny pink or white blossoms open from midsummer until frost. It makes a good perennial companion for ferns and hostas.
English daisy bears stems topped with a single white, daisy-like flower. The flowers are tinged maroon and yellow; but cultivars are available with single, semi-double, or double button flowers in shades of white, pink, salmon, and ruby. The plant's smooth, spoon-shaped leaves form neat rosettes. This carpeting perennial is often grown as a biennial. Its many cultivars are used for bedding out or container displays.
This small tree from China can reach a little over 20 feet tall and about half as wide. It blooms in winter or early spring, bearing single white flowers that are fragrant. Grow this elegant shrub in a border or woodland garden, as a specimen, or in a container.
Bachelor's buttons bear charming and prolific flowers in hues of blue, pink, lavender, white, and maroon. Those with a true blue color are especially welcome in the garden as that color is rare in nature. Each disc-shaped flower is about 1.5 inches across, with ragged petals radiating out from the center.
Small white flowers appear in profusion on leafless branches in early spring. Heart-shaped leaves emerge bronze, turning green, then yellow in autumn. Another white-flowered selection, 'Royal', has slightly larger blooms and more compact growth.
Yellowwood is a vase-shaped spreading tree with dark green foliage that turns a delicate yellow or orange in the fall and smooth light gray bark. Breathtaking, pendulous, foot-long, wisteria-like clusters of fragrant white flowers appear in late spring and early summer, often in alternate years.
This plant owes its name to its distinctive layered branches, which resemble the tiered, spreading roofline of an elaborate pagoda. Pagoda dogwoods are especially striking when accented by masses of small, fragrant creamy white flowers in early summer. Small, round fruits ripen to a deep blue-purple in late summer.
This rounded, deciduous tree with spreading, tiered branches is especially dramatic in the landscape. Its branches stand out in winter while the leaves, edged in a bold creamy white, add superb color and texture to the garden. In early summer, single white flowers are borne in large, flattened clusters up to 7 inches across. Blue-black fruit follows in autumn, attracting birds.
This dogwood can be classified as either a deciduous shrub or small tree. Appealing creamy white flowers appear in late spring and become attractive clusters of milky white fruit in fall. The first cold front often turns the leaves a dark burgundy, and the winter stem tips have a glossy mahogany hue.
This native flowering tree is best known for its early spring blossoms, which are actually yellowish green flowers clustered in the center of four showy, white to pink bracts 1-1/2 to 2 inches long. Clusters of four bright red fruits mature in early fall, often persisting into the beginning of winter.
A native of Korea and Japan, Kousa dogwood makes an excellent landscape tree and offers a long season of interest. Beginning in early summer, white bracts in sets of four (sometimes with pink tinges) surround tiny green flowers. These are followed by reddish fruit that resembles raspberries and attracts birds. Autumn color is a deep reddish purple. This species is resistant to dogwood anthracnose and has good cold hardiness. Grow as a specimen plant or in a woodland setting. It can be grown as a tree or large, multi-stemmed shrub.
This is a lovely species grown for its distinct pairs of 7-inch-long, assymetrical white bracts which hang from the branches in layers in late spring. Given room and maturity (seed-grown trees may not bloom for up to 20 years), this plant is notable in both form and flower.
'Blue Bird' is a Pacific Hybrid delphinium grown as an annual or biennial. Its mid-blue flowers have white centers. The flowers are large but short-lived and bloom on tall stems from early summer to midsummer. Grow at the back of a border or in the middle of an island bed. There is nothing quite like delphiniums in the garden.
'Summer Sundae' Sweet William is a nice mix of red, pink, and white flowers held in rounded groups at the tops of stems. Plants bloom from late spring to early summer. The flowers are lightly fragrant. Use in a cottage garden or border, or in containers. It flowers the first year from seed.
This is a very hardy, strongly aromatic eucalyptus with large leaves and white flowers. It makes a good specimen.
Discovered in the wild along Georgia's Altamaha River in 1765 by botanists John and William Bartram, this beautiful landscape tree is considered extinct in the wild. The Bartrams named the plant in honor of their friend Benjamin Franklin. All Franklinias today are descended from those propagated by the Bartrams in their Philadelphia garden. It is a deciduous, understory tree with an upright habit. It can be grown as a single-trunked tree or a multi-stemmed shrub. The fragrant white flowers have bushy yellow stamens and the leaves are dark green and glossy, turning orange, red, and purple in the fall. It blooms in late summer and early autumn, when few other trees are in flower. The fruit that follows is woody and spherical. Franklin tree makes a great addition to an open area of a woodland garden.
Carolina silverbell is a handsome tree with clean green foliage and an upright spreading habit. In mid- or late spring, hundreds of silvery-white bell-shaped flowers dangle from every branch before foliage emerges. The tree also has attractive bark, unusual four-winged seedpods, and yellow fall color.
The tiered branches of this fast-growing species are covered with white blossoms for over a month, starting in late summer. The flowers fade to reveal fuchsia calyxes that persist well into autumn. The pale, peeling bark can be exposed by pruning the lower branches of the interior. Although the form of the species is variable (single or multi-stemmed), it can usually be pruned into an elegant vase-shaped specimen, or maintained as a shrub.
This tall, pyramidal, evergreen tree may be grown as a large shrub. Its evergreen, spiny foliage is leathery and glossy. Insignificant, though fragrant, flowers bloom in spring followed by red, orange, or yellow drupes that attract birds. Many cultivars are available.
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Two experts pick their favorites based on color, shape
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Plant the best species for your region in fall for a spectacular display in spring
by Gene E. Bush
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