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This glorious conifer constitutes the sole member of both its genus and plant family. It is without a peer in its beauty; on a mature specimen, its rich needles compose a sculpture of form, texture, and color that is unrivaled. The foliage develops a bronzy tint in winter. While it often grows to 30 feet in cultivation and 90 feet in the wild, its slow-growing nature inspires patience.
This flowering evergreen tree has pinnate leaves 4 to 6 inches long. Notched, mid-green leaflets grow in pairs. Pea-like, fragrant blue-violet flowers in terminal racemes appear in spring, maturing to bright red seeds.
A multi-stemmed, deciduous tree with a rounded columnar form, stewartia features stunning bark that exfoliates in strips of gray, orange, and reddish brown once the trunk attains a diameter of 2 to 3 inches. Serrated foliage emerges bronzy purple in spring, develops into a dark green by summer, and turns red or orange in the fall. In midsummer, "glamorous" white camellia-like flowers open in random succession and are followed by pointed brown seed pods, which are persistent but not very ornamental.
Japanese snowbell is a compact, deciduous tree with a graceful spreading habit. In late spring, it produces hanging clusters of sweetly scented, bell-shaped white flowers. Minutely toothed, bright green leaves have a clean, fresh look in all but the driest conditions. Attractive fine twigs are borne on slender, somewhat-layered branches, and the bark is a smooth gray-brown. ‘Pink Chimes' bears abundant, dangling clusters of pale pink flowers.
This plant is a small tree or large shrub reaching 30 feet tall and 20 feet wide. It starts out in a pyramidal shape and becomes more open with age. Fragrant, bell-shaped, white flowers are borne on 4-inch to 8-inch long chains. Flowers dangle from rounded, dark green foliage in late spring, followed by small light brown fruits that usually drop by late fall.
Its great beauty and variety of sizes and shapes makes this deciduous conifer a candidate for extensive use. Bald cypress is a tall, conical, almost columnar tree with pale brown, shallowly fissured bark. Its bright green needles become golden in the fall. The cultivar 'Monarch of Illinois' is shaped totally unlike the typical bald cypress, but shares its delicate foliage and warm-looking, ruddy bark. It has a large, rounded crown, like a maple. With an ultimate height of about 85 feet and spread to 65 feet, it is suited to large gardens. A smaller cultivar, 'Shawnee Brave', has a narrow, pyramidal growth habit, an ultimate height of 70 feet, and a span of up to 18 feet.
This cultivar is a compact, evergreen, pyramidal tree that retains its glossy, bright green foliage throughout the year, making it a valuable hedge plant or specimen.
This deciduous tree with dense foliage and a stately habit produces hanging clusters of fragrant yellow flowers in mid-summer. It grows in a broadly columnar shape and has dark green leaves that are glossy underneath. Basswood makes a good specimen or street tree, although it doesn't tolerate pollution. It can grow as tall as 80 feet with a width of 50 feet. It attracts bees; basswood honey is a sought-after gourmet food.
This tall, deciuous tree has weeping branches rather than a weeping habit. The backs of its dark green leaves are fuzzy and white, turning the tree silver in a breeze. It grows to 70 feet tall and 40 feet wide. This is a tough tree with hanging clusters of small, pale yellow, fragrant flowers in summer.
This North American native grows to 70 feet tall, with a broadly pyramidal outline. It has deeply furrowed bark, small, oval cones, and slightly drooping branchlets with finely textured needles. It is suitable to a wide variety of uses, such as hedging or screening, and group or specimen plantings. It has given rise to a number of notable cultivars.
This hemlock cultivar makes a very beautiful specimen, slowly forming a 10- to 15-foot-tall and 30-foot-wide, multi-layered mound of greenery. Its horizontally speading branches are covered with smaller weeping branches clothed in short, dark green needles. It looks great growing over a rock wall, in a rock garden, or by water. Its size may be controlled by regular clipping.
For later-blooming flowers with ornamental foliage, try Tulipa 'Carnaval de Nice'. It has grayish green foliage finely outlined in white and fragrant white-and-burgundy-feathered blooms. Its flower patterns and height are variable (ranging from 16 to 20 inches tall) but always eye-catching.
Tulipa ‘Charmeur’ features leaves with curled yellow edges and 18-inch-tall white-rimmed dark rosy blooms. The color combination may be a bit garish for some, but it will certainly brighten up container plantings in a drab doorway.
Tulipa 'Esperanto' has white-bordered leaves, but it is unique with its long-lasting deep rose red and dark green streaked flowers, which stand 10 to 12 inches tall.
Tulipa 'Garant' has striking yellow-framed leaves that are even more prominent when its 16- to 18-inch-tall sunny yellow flowers appear in midspring. Uniformity of color makes this an elegant, charismatic tulip in beds and borders.
Tulipa ‘New Design’ (1974) has pink-bordered leaves and silvery pink, 14- to 20-inch-tall blooms flushed yellow with pale fuchsia tips. This bulb is easygoing and long-lived.
Reaching 20 to 24 inches tall, Tulipa 'Silverstream' has chartreuse and yellow flowers suffused with red-and-rose markings that create a watercolor effect. The foliage has distinct cream-colored edging. Grouping these in a garden with a pastel palette would have driven Monet viridian with envy.
This named variety of the species has soft sulfur-yellow flowers up to 3 inches across. The spring blossoms sit 4-6 inches high, surrounded by wavy-edged, gray-green foliage that reaches 8-10 inches tall. Species tulips prefer sharp drainage and plenty of room to grow. Most do well in rock gardens, small displays, and containers.
The 12-inch-tall Tulipa 'Calypso' (1992) is known for being reliably perennial. It has decorative stippled leaves and large orange-red flowers rimmed with primrose and a black base.
Known for being reliably perennial, Tulipa ‘Oratorio’ (introduced in 1952) blooms in midspring and has splayed, flashy maroon-mottled leaves. It is a standout in the garden from the moment the exquisite heavily striped leaves emerge. Its dazzling 14- to 16-inch-tall coral pink flowers are an added bonus.
Alliums All Season Long
Deer resistant and dynamic, these bulbs provide color from the first showers of spring to the last leaves of fall
by Stephanie Cohen
Find out what all the buzz is about by planting these colorful perennials
by Sally Roth
10 Shrubs for Summer Color
These vibrant bloomers give even the showiest annuals and perennials a run for their money
by Paul Cappiello
Enchanting Japanese Maples
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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