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This slow-growing understory tree has highly ornamental, peeling orange-cinnamon bark. Its dark green, three-lobed leaves turn a brilliant orange-red in autumn.
Full-moon maple has deeply lobed leaves, crimson autumn color, and plenty of small, reddish flowers in spring. It can be grown as a small tree or multi-stemmed shrub. Its growth habit is mounded, bushy, and spreading. The cultivar name 'Aconitifolium' refers to the fact that its ferny foliage resembles that of monkshood (Aconitum). This beautiful tree makes a great specimen plant and is very hardy.
'Amber Ghost' offers unique color in the maples. In spring, it is first bright pink, changing to a melon, pink-orange color. In summer it is a warm soft amber with a distinct green vein. Fall brings bright red and orange. 'Amber Ghost' is a wide, upright tree, excellent for either container or landscape if you want a series of stunning colors to bring into the garden.
This Japanese maple has long-lobed, deeply divided leaves that are cherry red in the spring, a perfect contrast to the pea green bark. In summer the foliage changes slowly from red to green and back to red in fall. The habit is wide spreading with pendulous branches providing movement in the least of wind. Though slow to mature, it is an easy tree to grow and a striking beauty.
The foliage is bright strawberry red at first emergence, and slowly pink suffuses each leaf along the vein as the spring progresses. Graceful deeply divided leaves with serrated edges gently curve at the tips. In its mature form, this tree will most likely have wide spreading with cascading branches (Because this is a new cultivar and Japanese maples can be very slow growing, accurate information about this tree’s maturity can be difficult to come by) . This cultivar is a seedling from ‘Aka shigitatsu sawa’.
This round, mound-forming, deciduous Japanese maple has many qualities that make it an excellent garden plant, including a sculptural form, deeply cut foliage, arching shoots, and golden autumn color. The reddish purple flowers are tiny but attractive up close. They are followed by winged fruit. Threadleaf Japanese maple makes a beautiful specimen in small gardens and can be grown in large containers or used for bonsai.
This vigorous maple has large, broadly ovate, dark green leaves that turn yellow or red in autumn. It is invasive in some areas.
This tree has lobed leaves that are green on top and gray-white beneath. It turns bright red in autumn. Its form can be round to open-headed.
This is a rounded to open-crown deciduous tree up to 70 feet tall and 30 feet wide with early, brilliant red fall coloring.
The 'Caddo' maple typically reaches a mature height of 30 feet and spread of 25 feet, but may be taller. Its star-shaped leaves turn under slightly at the edges, and turn muted yellow to orange in the fall that can be spectacular. Its crown is oval-shaped, with an upright/erect growth habit. This moderately drought-tolerant maple is a great street or shade tree.
'Caddo' maples, native to southwestern Oklahoma, are well-adapted to heat and drought, and resistant to leaf tatter and scortch common among many maples. The leaves are dark green, leathery, and deeply lobed.
If your shade garden needs a focal point, consider this small, rounded Japanese maple, with its lime-to-chartreuse-tinged golden leaves. In fall, its leaves turn orange and red, just like those of a sugar maple. This variety, like other small Japanese maples, needs shade and protection from sun and drying winds to keep the foliage from curling and turning brown at the edges. -Michael Ruggiero, Regional Picks: Mid-Atlantic, Fine Gardening issue #127
This tree offers many reasons to get excited:bright red spring foliage, wonderful chartreuse summer color, a vigorous growth habit, and an increased sun tolerance. It has a big, beautiful open form, similar to Aureum.
This broadly columnar to spreading tree has peeling brown bark, three-palmate mid-green leaves, and brilliant orange-red fall foliage. It grows up to 30 feet tall and 25 feet wide.
Compact and rounded, the Shantung maple reaches a mature height and spread of 25 feet by 30 feet. The leaves grow to 5 inches long and have five to seven lobes, resembling the leaves of the Sweetgum (Liquidambar styraciflua). Leaves emerge purple in spring and become glossy and medium green during the growing season. In autumn, the starry leaves blaze into shades of yellow and orange, accented by reds and purples. Samara (fruit) are red.
Each flowering stem of this bulb produces eight to twelve flowers that open consecutively over a period of three to four weeks. The flowers are fragrant, white, and starry, and have a conspicuous red/maroon center. Its linear, sword-shaped, 2- to 3-foot-tall leaves resemble those of Gladiolus, but are more slender and graceful.
This conical shrub to small tree has palmate leaves and bears red (sometimes yellow-marked) flowers in 6-inch panicles in summer, followed by smooth-skinned fruit. The flowers attract hummingbirds.
A large shrub or small tree, Albizia julibrissin is native to Iran to Japan. It is a fast-growing plant whose seedlings can become invasive. It can be seen growing in the wild in the southeastern U.S. and California in waste places, fields, and along roads.
However, its bipinnate, ferny leaves and fluffy pink flowerheads that cover the tree in summer make it a garden-worthy plant, as do the fragrance emitted by the flowers, which attract bees. Seed pods that resemble flat beans follow the flowers and persist into winter. Still, care should be used so that seeds from garden plants can't escape into the wild.
Allium 'Globemaster' is a true showstopper, growing to about 32 inches tall. Very large, majestic purple spheres up to 8 inches across bear numerous star-shaped, deep lilac flowers in May and June.
This plant produces dense clusters of bright blue flowerheads up to 1 inch wide. Its leaves clasp its stem and die back before flowering.
This bulbous perennial produces ribbed stems and strap-shaped, gray-green basal leaves that decline as its flowers form. In early summer, it bears umbels that are 10 to 12 inches in diameter, and contain up to 100 star-shaped fuchsia flowers with a metallic sheen.
In summer, this plant bears large rounded flower heads up to 4 inches across with a multitude of star-shaped lilac-pink flowers.
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.
The purple or white pom-pom flowers of chives top aromatic stems in summer. The leaves are edible and have a mild onion flavor; the flowers can be used as garnishes. Plants grow in dense clumps to 2 feet high. Use chives in a cottage, herb, or vegetable garden, or in containers.
This plant bears 12- to 18-inch blooms with nearly 100 pink-rose flowers. When the flowers are spent, they are replaced by airy, fluffy seedpods.
This plant has thin, strap-like foliage that tends to twist. It produces up to 30 long-lasting, 12- to 40-inch-tall pink or lilac flowers in mid- to late summer.
This plant's silver-blue leaves swirl like a cowlick. It produces flowers that are lollipop-shaped, pink with bright yellow accents and about 16 inches tall.
The drumstick allium has egg-shaped flowers in summer that start off green, then bloom and develop to pink and then clover red-purple. These plants are attractive in a bed or border, especially peeking up through other plants, such as roses, so that their nondescript foliage is hidden. Their vertical presence and eye-catching flower shape are valuable additions to the garden, and they naturalize freely.
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 picturesque tree has rough, shredding, red-brown bark and glossy green leaves. It produces small white flowers followed by spherical, warty, reddish fruit.
This golden-leaved version of the southern paper mulberry can be treated as a cutback shrub to control size and for best production of brilliant golden yellow, large, lobed leaves. Or it can be allowed to grow into a small- to medium-sized tree. It's a most desirable garden plant and looks fabulous with deep blue salvias.
This upright, oval, dark green boxwood grows to about 3 feet high and wide. It flowers in spring, but it is grown for its handsome foliage. Use as hedging or topiary, or in a border.
This large, conical-shaped tree has dark green flattened sprays of evergreen scale-like leaves.
Spikes of violet, star-shaped flowers top stems reaching from 2 to 4 feet in late spring. The species is native to western Oregon. 'Blue Danube' would be beautiful in a border, meadow, or containers. Camassia make good cut flowers.
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.
This stunning evergreen conifer can be a very large specimen tree (to over 100 feet) in the landscape. Its young, silvery foliage turns vivid glaucous blue as it ages; the sharply pointed leaves are arranged in whorls. Female cones are green and can be up to 4 inches long; they ripen slowly over 2 years to pale brown. This tree needs a lot of space to reach its majestic potential.
This evergreen, coniferous tree has a conical form and whorls of green needles. It grows to 100 feet tall and 30 feet wide with spreading branches and pendant branch tips. Showy, light brown cones mature in fall.
This spreading, deciduous tree native to Japan and China has a rounded form and rounded, redbud-like leaves. It grows to 70 feet tall and 50 feet wide and sports brilliant red, apricot, and yellow fall color. Early spring flowers are insignificant. This attractive tree makes an excellent specimen. 'Pendula', a weeping form, is this species' most popular cultivar.
This deciduous small tree initially has a pyramidal form, and later rounded. Cercis-like, opposite, heart-shaped blue-green leaves are borne on stiff, slender, pendulous branches that fan out from the crown and sweep the ground. Caramel-scented foliage emerges bronze or purple-red, turns blue-green, then fades to gold or apricot in autumn. Tiny red flowers emerge in late March or early April before the leaves.
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.
In early spring, 'Forest Pansy' awakens with a long-lasting profusion of bright purplish-pink blooms borne in clusters, before the leaves, along smooth gray branches. Its heart-shaped, blood-red leaves are finely veined and glossy when young, slowly turning a dark, purple-tinged green in full sun. Autumn foliage is a bouquet of reds, purples, oranges, and yellows. The plant's graceful branching structure stands out in winter.
Bright purplish-pink blooms are borne in clusters, before the leaves, along smooth gray branches. Heart-shaped leaves emerge bronze, turning green, then yellow in autumn. Cultivars are available with white ('Royal White') or pink flowers ('Tennessee Pink'), purple foliage ('Forest Pansy'), and weeping form ('Covey'). Grows 15 to 25 feet tall with a slightly wider spread.
This impressive tree, also known as 'Covey', takes the beautiful deep pink spring blossoms and attractive deciduous foliage of our native redbud and displays them on its weeping form. Lavender Twist® reaches 6 to 8 feet tall and 8 to 10 feet wide and makes a great specimen plant near walkways, foundation plantings, or patios.
This plant has a cypress-like, densely conical form with erect feathery branches of ovate blue-gray juvenile leaves. Oblong male cones emerge bluish black, opening brick red. Female cones are wrinkled and reddish brown, to one half-inch. A native of western North America, it is a very popular species since it is highly adaptable.
This is a conical tree with drooping branches and vertical, flattened sprays of bluish green to dark green foliage. This graceful cultivar has upward-curved branches with drooping branchlets and an open crown when mature. Male cones are ovoid, brownish green, and 1/8 inches long. Female cones are green, 1/2 inch long, with a recurved central hook on each scale, maturing in spring.
Hinoki cypress is a conical, evergreen, coniferous tree with leaves that are actually minute scales on tiny branches in the form of fans. The outer foliage of 'Aurea' is golden and the inner is green. Growth can be slow. Use as a specimen or use several as screening.
This dwarf Chamaecyparis has a weeping habit and gold to lime green finely-textured needles. It's great for providing year-round color.
This evergreen, coniferous tree has flattened sprays of scale-like adult leaves. 'Heatherbun' has soft, blue-green juvenile foliage that turns plum to bronze in winter and a compact, rounded form.
Desert willow is shrub native to the Southwest U.S. and Mexico. Its erect willowy foliage is joined by large, blowsy pink flowers from early summer to first frost. This tough plants performs well in xeriscapes and other dry, unforgiving locations. It grows to 10 to 14 feet tall and wide remains blemish-free all season long.
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 little elephant ear has velvety dark leaves with prominent green veins and a large silvery central blotch. It reaches about 2 feet high.
'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
'Purple Tower' is a cultivar of the New Zealand native cabbage tree, frequently grown in greenhouses, as houseplants, or as large accent plants outdoors. It is hardy to Zone 10. The narrow, plum-purple leaves reach 3 feet long. The fragrant white flowers are small, but they are borne in large panicles in spring and early summer on mature plants. Plants grown in containers only rarely flower, however. Young plants are often sold as houseplants. Mature specimens have thick trunks with foliage at the top, resembling a palm tree. They are striking container specimens and can be plugged into a summer border. The species has naturalized in portions of California and the southern U.S.
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 upright, tree-like shrub has heart-shaped, toothed, mid-green leaves. Pendent yellow catkins are borne in late winter and early spring. Strongly twisted, spiraling shoots provide year-round interest.
This cross of the European smoke bush (C. coggygria) and the American smoke tree (C. obovatus) is a gem in the garden thanks to its multiseason interest. Its iridescent spring foliage is green overlaid with red; then its large pink clouds of blooms in summer are followed by brilliant autumn foliage that ranges from red to orange. 'Grace' combines well with just about anything; asters, ornamental grasses, and Japanese maples are good places to start.
This purple-leaved hybrid has Crinum bulbispermum in its blood, so it is more cold hardy than many other purple-leaved crinums. In spring, 'Sangria' sends up 2-foot-long leaves (it will stay evergreen in frost-free climates). 'Sangria' crinum serves as a superb substitute for phormiums, though it is somewhat less upright. It is grown for its foliage alone or for its pink flowers, which appear in the spring. -Andy Cabe, Regional Picks: Southeast, Fine Gardening issue #120
Dutch crocus is one of the hardiest, if not the hardiest, crocus species readily available to home gardeners. A true harbinger of spring, it can be planted in borders, rock gardens, and even lawns. After flowering, the foliage must be left intact until it withers, which may cause lawn-mower anxiety in some gardeners. Often sold as "mixed crocus," cultivars of this species are typically white, lilac, or purple and white striped.
This is a coniferous evergreen with year-round interest and a graceful shape. Young foliage emerges a pale shade of yellow in a herringbone pattern in the spring and is a striking contrast to the deeper green of the older needles by summer. Crinkled brown cones dangle daintily on the ends of the branches in autumn, followed by new developing cones gleaming like little lanterns through the winter.
This conical evergreen offers year-round interest and a graceful shape, with branches that are more pendent than the species. Young foliage emerges a pale shade of yellow in a herringbone pattern in the spring and is a striking contrast to the deeper green of the older needles by summer. Crinkled brown cones dangle daintily on the ends of the branches in autumn, followed by new developing cones gleaming like little lanterns through the winter.
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.
This is a very hardy, strongly aromatic eucalyptus with large leaves and white flowers. It makes a good specimen.
This species boasts maroon-speckled stems and green flowers with maroon margins. The flowers occur on thick, solitary stalks bearing bottle-brush-like wands of tightly-clung florets, which are crowned by tufts of green bracts. As the common name implies, these unusual and magnificent inflorescences are reminiscent of pineapples.
This species boasts stems and undersides of leaves with maroon spotting, and white flowers tinged with maroon. The flowers form on 24-inch-long, thick stalks bearing bottle-brush-like wands of tightly-clung florets, which are crowned by tufts of green bracts. As the common name implies, these unusual and magnificent inflorescences are reminiscent of pineapples.
This bulbous perennial has striking reddish purple, strap-like leaves and foot-long purple flowers that resemble pineapples in late summer. Grow in a sunny border, container, or greenhouse. Plants used outdoors may be overwintered in a frost-free location. The species is native to South Africa.
This outstanding cultivar boasts dark burgundy leaves that slowly change to olive green, and then revert back dramatically as the flowers fade. The flowers form on 20- to 30-inch stalks bearing bottle-brush-like wands of tight, smokey pink florets, which are crowned by tufts of purple bracts. As the common name implies, these unusual and magnificent inflorescences are reminiscent of pineapples.
Because it is a relative of the immensely popular burning bush (E. alatus), it isn't surprising that eastern wahoo has great fall color. This North American native grows as a small tree in the southern part of its range and as a large shrub on the Plains. The bright red of its fall foliage is amplified and extended by abundant clusters of scarlet fruits that persist after the leaves have fallen, providing color even into midwinter. Eastern wahoo is effective as an accent plant or when massed wherever a bold, surprising splash of color is desired.
An excellent shade tree, this European-native deciduous tree grows to 80 feet tall and 50 feet wide and features an upright, oval form and dark shiny green leaves that turn yellow to rust-colored in fall. Its spring flowers are insignificant, though the small nuts that follow are favored by birds and squirrels. This tree is slow-growing. Several cultivars are available, including those with differing forms and foliage colors.
'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.
Large, paddle-shaped leaves with prominent veins make this tree a standout in containers outdoors or as a houseplant. Native to topical regions of western and central Africa, fiddle-leaf fig has leathery, glossy, evergreen leaves and round fruit. In the wild, it can reach 100 feet tall and almost as wide, but its size is easily controlled in containers. It was a popular houseplant in the 1950s and 60s.
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.
The giant snowdrop has larger flowers and broader leaves than the more common G. nivalis, but grows to the same 4 inches tall and wide. Its white, nodding blooms appear in late winter, signalling spring around the corner.
Snowdrops are some of the earliest bulbs, and flowers in general, to bloom in spring. Galanthus nivalis is the most common species, and its cultivars are the most commonly grown snowdrops on the market. They are reliably hardy and perennial. They grow to 4 inches tall and wide and flower in mid- to late winter, long before most other plants. They are the first sign of spring around the corner. Flowers are nodding and white.
A native of South Africa, summer hyacinth sends up spikes of lovely white flowers in late summer amidst dark green, strap-like foliage, when many other perennials are done blooming. The tall spikes are fragrant and especially dramatic planted with darker foliage or flowers.
One of the oldest tree species on the planet, ginkgo grows only about a foot a year, reaching 50 to 80 feet. Female trees set fleshy fruit that smell unpleasant as they decay; they contain edible nuts.
Honey locust grows in the wild from Pennsylvania to Iowa and south to Georgia and Texas. In the landscape, this large, spreading, deciduous tree is valuable for its elegant form and pinnate, ferny leaves that cast a dappled shade. Flowers are generally inconspicuous, but are followed by unusual large seed pods. Fall color can be a nice yellow, but leaves sometimes fall without noticeably changing colors. The species has a thorny trunk and shoots, but thornless cultivars are available.
Through the fall and into winter, pincushion hakea provides beautiful cut flowers for the holidays; the foliage and seedpods are also great for arrangements. You can prune it into a bushy shape or a slender, small tree. As a member of the Protea family, pincushion hakea does not like phosphorus fertilizer, and like most Australian plants, it prefers to be well mulched so that its specialized roots can extract nutrients from the mulch layer.
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.
There are few better winter displays than the blossoms of 'Pallida' witch hazel. Bright green leaves line its flaring branches in spring and summer. After a display of yellow fall color, the plant shows its distinctive branch structure. Around the end of December, clusters of buds begin to open into spidery, pale yellow flowers. These cover the branches until early March, giving off a rich, fruity perfume. This small tree or large shrub grows up to 12 feet tall and wide.
A tropical tree by design, the Mexican fire bush freezes to the ground in winter in Zones 8-11, but grows up to 5 feet tall by summer's end. The erect, branched, woody stems bear simple copper-toned leaves with small orange flowers bunched along the tips. It loves the heat, and the more you can give it, the more vigorous it will be.
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 bulb blooms in early summer with striking, sweetly-scented white and yellow flowers that appear on leafless stems up to 24 inches tall. Petals curve up to accent a daffodil-like cup, sometimes with green-striped tubes. Peruvian daffodil has long, strap-shaped, arching, dark green leaves.
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.
This dense, evergreen holly reaches 6 to 10 feet tall and at least as wide. The species is rarely used in landscapes, but there are many cultivars available with more interesting shape and color. This plant grows slowly, but can be invasive. Its dark green leaves are lustrous and the black fruit is hidden beneath them, so it is not obvious as in other hollies. Use Japanese holly in foundation plantings, hedges, beds and borders, or formal gardens.
This erect, evergreen large shrub or tree reaches 40 to 50 feet in height and 20 to 40 feet wide. Leathery dark green leaves have pointy, scalloped edges. Small green berries appear in late summer, maturing to crimson by autumn and persisting through the winter. Some ripen to yellow or orange. Use American holly as a specimen tree or in a woodland garden.
Tall bearded iris tolerates dappled shade, but full sun promotes maximum flowering of deep red blooms. Spring or fall is the time to deadhead and cut the foliage back. This perennial makes a wonderful backdrop to spring bulbs. ‘Rip City’ is just one of hundreds of cultivars of tall bearded iris.
This beardless, crestless iris produces blooms in midspring that are the color of terra cotta. Quick growing, with long, swordlike foliage, this plant attracts butterflies and hummingbirds, and works well in beds and borders.
Dense clusters of pendulous yellow flowers dangle from spreading branches in late spring. Leaves are dark green. Smooth green bark adds some winter interest.
This is a fast-growing, upright deciduous tree with delicate white flowers in early summer. As it matures, it develops a spectacular patchwork of bark in shades of gray, maroon, and brown. Oblong dark green leaves turn red-orange in autumn. Cultivar 'Fantasy' is vigorous and hardier than the species, with exceptional bark.
Crape myrtle is an upright deciduous tree or large shrub. Dark green leaves emerge bronze. White, pink, red, or purple flowers appear from summer to autumn. Peeling gray-and-brown bark is attractive.
A deciduous conifer with a pyramidal growth habit, European larch has pendulous lower branches. In spring, needles emerge a shiny chartreuse, turning to deep green by summer and to sunset gold in late fall. Cultivars include 'Pendula', a weeping cultivar; 'Fastigiata', a narrow and upright variety; and 'Pyramidalis'.
Fissured and scaly bark bark is tinted rust-brown in winter. Purplish red winter shoots are covered in a waxy bloom. Gray-green or bluish green leaves grow to 1.5 inches long.
One of the first plants to emerge, this 24-inch-tall bulb bears nodding white bells as early as mid-January. Blooms are faintly chocolate-scented; leaves are glossy, erect, and strap-shaped.
Often used by florists and for weddings, 'Casa Blanca' lily has large, pure white, scented flowers.
The first true double-flowering Oriental lily, this plant has delicate pinkish white blooms that open in July and August. They are as stunning in the mixed border as they are in the vase. Each bloom has 18 beautiful petals, making it unique among Oriental lilies.
Often used by florists, 'Star Gazer' lily has bright crimson flowers with purple spots and dark edges. These lilies grow to about 3 feet tall, so they generally don't need staking.
One of the oldest garden flowers, the madonna lily has bright green hosta-like basal rosettes appearing in winter and shallow-rooted bulbs that give it a distinctive appearance. In late spring, it thrusts up leafy torches topped with pristine scented blossoms in a raceme of 5 to 10 trumpet-shaped flowers.
From late August through early October, this lily bears eight or more 10-inch-long, deliciously scented, pristine-white trumpets (sometimes blushed pink on the outside) upon each stem. After the flowers fade, the stalks turn upward, opening elegantly as the seeds ripen and the pods dry to form a weather-resistant candelabra to adorn the winter garden or to use in dried arrangements
The brilliant blooms of these hybrid lilies boast the fragrance of Oriental lilies and the vitality and large size of trumpet lilies but with “hybrid vigor”—more strength and disease resistance and a higher tolerance of extreme cold as well as hot and humid conditions than their parents. Plants can reach a height of up to 8 feet and are covered with an abundance of blooms from July to mid-August, when many lilies have already faded. Scores of hybrids are available with varying blooming time, fragrance, form, and color, including 'Anastasia', 'Catherine the Great', 'Scheherazade', and the ever-popular 'Leslie Woodriff'.
This hardy cross between M. liliiflora and M. stellata is an open, deciduous shrub up to 20 feet tall and wide. It blooms in early spring and sporadically into fall, with goblet-shaped, deep pinkish-red flowers that are 7 to 9 inches long.
This cross of M. acuminata and M. denudata usually forms a small tree with an upright central leader or sometimes a multi-stemmed shrub. It has yellow cup to star-shaped flowers (3 to 4 inches across) that are fragrant and appear before the leaves in early to mid-spring.
Few species can match the elegant drama of this specimen in full bloom. It has luminous, pale yellow, cup-shaped flowers to 6 inches across that seem to glow on the bare branches in late spring.
This deciduous hybrid offers candy-scented, goblet-shaped blooms to 10 inches across in vivid reddish-purple. It forms a pyramidal outline, and grows up to 40 feet tall.
This deciduous tree offers vivid pink flowers like M. 'Galaxy,' but with fewer, larger, and more deeply-hued blossoms. It grows up to 40 feet tall and forms a broadly oval outline.
This small tree is a cross of M. kobus and M. stellata. It has star-shaped flowers (3 to 5 inches across) with 10 to 14 narrow white petals, sometimes tinted in lilac-purple or pale pink. The blossoms are fragrant and appear before the leaves in mid-spring. Loebner magnolia grows to 30 feet tall.
This rounded, small tree grows to 25 feet tall. It is a cross of M. kobus and M. stellata 'Rosea'. It has star-shaped flowers with 12 narrow petals, white on the inside and purplish-pink on the outside; the transition of color from bud to bloom is a beautiful study in color. The blossoms are fragrant and appear before the leaves in early to mid-spring.
This vigorous, erect tree grows from 20 to 30 feet tall and has star-shaped flowers with 15 broad white petals blushed with pink. The blossoms are fragrant and appear before the leaves in early to mid-spring.
This widely grown hybrid of M. denudata and M. lilliflora is the ancestor to numerous cultivars and grows to 25 feet tall. In mid-spring, it bears fragrant, saucer-shaped white flowers from 3 to 6 inches across deeply flushed with rose-pink or violet.
This stunning hybrid has deep burgundy tulip-shaped flowers that appear in early spring before its 4- to 6-inch-long leaves unfurl. It makes an excellent small specimen tree, growing to 20 feet tall. It can be topped to form a hedge, and works well in large containers.
This spreading deciduous shrub or small tree has large, light-green glossy leaves to 2 feet long. It flowers in early summer with jasmine- and citrus-scented blossoms in white with maroon markings at the base. Each flower is up to 10 inches across. It grows up to 30 feet tall and wide and is a native of North America.
This cultivar creates a fragrant cloud of rich bubblegum-pink blossoms on bare branches in spring. It grows to 40 feet tall and wide.
This deciduous tree grows to 40 feet tall and blooms in early spring with a profusion of white-tinged pink goblet to saucer-shaped blossoms that are 3 to 4 inches wide.
This deciduous species has remarkable leaves that are over 3 feet long and 1 foot wide. They are light green above and silvery beneath. It flowers in early summer with creamy-white, fragrant blossoms that reach a foot across. Magnolia macrophylla grows up to 40 feet tall and wide. It is native to North America.
This species is a small, spreading tree with lovely, upward-facing, star-shaped blossoms. Each pure white flower—they are occasionally flushed pink— is 5 inches across and comprised of up to 15 individual petals. They light up the tree's bare branches in early to mid-spring.
This deciduous, monoecious, coniferous tree grows to 100 feet tall. Its oddly shaped, branch-pitted trunk is often deeply fluted and "buttressed" and has orange-brown bark. Attractive, lacy foliage is bright green in early summer, turning golden bronze before falling in autumn. Female cones are light brown and ovoid, while male cones are rounder, pendent, and darker brown.
Grape hyacinths are hardy, easy to grow, and have long-lasting blooms--no garden should be without them. They are particularly spectacular when allowed to naturalize, whether under trees, along a pathway, tucked into ground covers, or in a bed.
These double-flowered grape hyacinths are a good candidate for beds and borders because they increase only by division. They also bloom longer than those that hasten through spring eager to set seed. April-flowering 'Blue Spike' has the largest inflorescence of the species, with fully double flax-blue fluffy heads (each pedicel carries multiple individual flowers instead of one) and narrow, linear leaves.
These double-flowered grape hyacinths are a good candidate for beds and borders because they increase only by division. They also bloom longer than those that hasten through spring eager to set seed. 'Fantasy Creation', a sport of 'Blue Spike', has a large pyramidal raceme resembling broccoli. Its blue flowers gradually turn purple, then green, fading toward yellow. It doesn't wilt and rarely sets seed, making it useful for dried flower arrangements.
Grape hyacinths are hardy, easy to grow, and have long-lasting blooms--no garden should be without them. 'Saffier' is a good candidate for beds and borders because it increases only by division. Its strong, rigid flower stalks start celery-green and mature to robust medium-blue blossoms with distinct pale-green lips at the mouth of each floret. The constricted openings prevent access to pollinating insects, resulting in blooms that last a full month and making them excellent cut flowers.
Grape hyacinths are hardy, easy to grow, and have long-lasting blooms--no garden should be without them. They are particularly spectacular when allowed to naturalize, whether under trees, along a pathway, tucked into ground covers, or in a bed. 'Blue Magic' has a true-blue hue and is great for forcing.
Grape hyacinths are hardy, easy to grow, and have long-lasting blooms--no garden should be without them. They are particularly spectacular when allowed to naturalize, whether under trees, along a pathway, tucked into ground covers, or in a bed. This species blooms early, in March in some areas. It has sky-blue frilled bells with indigo stripes. Although the blossoms aren't long-lived, they self-sow freely, providing more flowers to enjoy the following year.
Grape hyacinths are hardy, easy to grow, and have long-lasting blooms--no garden should be without them. This species, also known as the feather hyacinth, has slender airy filaments and resembles a red-violet plume. It's completely unlike its grapy cousins in color and form, and makes a good, 10-inch cut flower. The bulbs themselves have a distinct pink color and produce toothlike bulblets that grow to flowering size in just one season.
From fleshy leaves arise bell-shaped, purplish blue, sometimes almost black, flowers. Flower heads appear two-toned due to paler crowns, which are sterile flowers. Grape hyacinth is good for naturalizing in gardens or lawns, for forcing or growing in container displays, and for rock gardens.
This graph hyacinth is a tall, brilliant powder-blue showstopper that shows beautifully with pink-cupped daffodils. Its namesake, Valerie Finnis, was a famous British plantswoman and photographer. Grape hyacinths are hardy, easy to grow, and have long-lasting blooms--no garden should be without them. They are particularly spectacular when allowed to naturalize, whether under trees, along a pathway, tucked into ground covers, or in a bed.
The flowers of this grape hyacinth are stunning, reaching 8 to 12 inches tall. The blossoms burst in April and May, with yellow-rimmed opaque blue-black skirts tapering to a perfect conical shape, which is set off by glaucous deep green foliage. Grape hyacinths are hardy, easy to grow, and have long-lasting blooms--no garden should be without them.
Tazetta-type daffodils, including the paperwhites that can be forced into bloom indoors during the winter, are also fragrant. ‘Avalanche’ has a cluster of 10 to 20 tiny flowers, creating almost an entire bouquet on one stem. Its flowers, with white petals and pale-yellow cups, have a wonderful musky-sweet fragrance. Since it is hardy to Zone 6, it can be enjoyed in many gardens. It shows off even more when combined with plants like Tulipa ‘Pink Impression’, Ornithogalum balansae, and pansies.
Jonquilla-type daffodils produce dark-green, narrow, often reedlike leaves, which are relatively easy to hide in the border while they mature, and there is usually more than one sweetly fragrant flower per stem. Probably the most fragrant of all, especially considering the size of the flowers, is N. ‘Baby Moon’, a precious, golden-yellow miniature daffodil.
This tender paperwhite is well-suited to forcing, blooming 4 to 5 weeks after planting. It produces 10 to 15 creamy-white flowers with pale-yellow centers on compact stems 8 to 10 inches tall, and exudes a mild, sweet fragrance.
This daffodil has large, long-lasting flowers that are a deep, sunny yellow with orange cups. Plant these in large groups for a specular mid-season show. Great for forcing indoors.
This tender paperwhite is well-suited to forcing, blooming 3 to 5 weeks after planting. Each 14- to 16-inch stem brings forth 5 to 10 white flowers with golden-yellow centers exuding a delicate fragrance. It may require staking.
This hardy paperwhite is well-suited to forcing, blooming 8 to 10 weeks after planting. It produces mildly musk-scented, white flowers with orange centers on stems 12 to 14 inches tall.
This miniature daffodil opens in very late spring. Its cup changes from yellow to white after the flowers open.
This tender paperwhite is well-suited to forcing, blooming 3 to 4 weeks after planting. It produces 10 to 15 white flowers per stem (12 to 14 inches tall) and exudes a musky fragrance.
This tender paperwhite is well-suited to forcing, blooming 6 to 10 weeks after planting. It produces 10 to 20 bright-yellow flowers with orange centers on stems 12 to 14 inches tall, and exudes a marvelously sweet fragrance.
Triandrus-type daffodils usually have one or two nodding flowers per stem and are noted for their wonderful, often fruity, fragrance. N. ‘Hawera’ (pre-1950, Zones 3–8) is a miniature triandrus-type daffodil with many elfin, pale-yellow nodding bells per stem, each with a demitasse-shaped cup surrounded by swept-back petals. This adaptable daffodil can grow in dry areas, in pots, in full sun, and in partial shade. It contrasts nicely with Muscari armeniacum and is exquisite with hellebores.
The newly opened blossoms of N. ‘Intrigue’ (1970, Zones 3–9) are a soft chartreuse-yellow. As they mature, however, the flowers become a luminous white and attract a lot of attention, especially when planted with a blood-red tulip like ‘Hollandia’. When combined with another soft-colored flower, like Hyacinthus orientalis ‘Lady Derby’, it creates a peaceful scene. An American-bred jonquilla-type daffodil with several flowers per stem, ‘Intrigue’ also has a wonderful fragrance.
This tender paperwhite is well-suited to forcing, blooming 3 to 5 weeks after planting. Each 16- to 20-inch stem brings forth 15 to 20 large, creamy-yellow flowers with pale-yellow centers. Its mild fragrance is sweet and musky.
Generally speaking, daffodils perform best in full sun and well-drained soil, in areas where there is a fair amount of rainfall in the fall and spring and where the summer is relatively dry. However, cyclamineus-type daffodils seem to tolerate at least partial shade and more moisture than others do. Narcissus ‘Jack Snipe’ (pre-1951, Zones 3–8) is a charming example of this type of daffodil. Its white petals are swept back, as if it were standing in front of a fan, and its medium-length, buttercup-yellow trumpet (or nose) sticks straight out at a 90 degree angle from the stem. ‘Jack Snipe’ is an intermediate-size daffodil, standing only 8 to 10 inches tall, and is perfect for a rock garden or the front of a flower border. This whole division of daffodils is becoming more popular not only because it tolerates some shade but also because the shape of the flower is so handsome.
This tender paperwhite is well-suited to forcing, blooming 3 to 4 weeks after planting. It produces very large, white flowers on stems 16 to 20 inches tall, and exudes a mildly sweet fragrance.
This tender paperwhite is well-suited to forcing, blooming 3 weeks after planting. It produces creamy white flowers with yellow centers on compact stems 12 to 14 inches tall, and exudes a mildly sweet fragrance.
Jonquilla-type daffodils produce dark-green, narrow, often reedlike leaves, which are relatively easy to hide in the border while they mature, and there is usually more than one sweetly fragrant flower per stem. Golden-yellow, sweetly fragrant, and a wonderful perennial, ‘Quail’ creates a special color echo with the golden center of the small tulip Tulipa bakeri ‘Lilac Wonder’.
Although some people don’t consider double or peonylike daffodils classics, many double hybrids have been in existence for a long time. N. ‘Tahiti’ (1956, Zones 3–8) has a soft-yellow flower with bright reddish-orange interior ruffles is reminiscent of a blossom from the tropics. ‘Tahiti’ stands up straight under its own weight, even on windy days. Its coloration is eye-catching, so it makes a big impact in the garden.
Narcissus ‘Accent’ has white petals and a funnel-shaped, salmon-pink cup whose color stays true.
Narcissus ‘Rijnveld’s Early Sensation’ is a classic yellow trumpet-type daffodil and one of the earliest blooming. It can tolerate cold, snowy weather and it has a long blooming period. 'Rijnveld's Early Sensation' combines nicely with early crocuses and dwarf irises.
Brightly colored, large-cupped, and reliable, Narcissus 'Serola' has vivid orange and yellow flowers that make it the perfect choice for roadside plantings, for gardens viewed from a distance, and for hot-colored garden schemes. It shows up even better with contrasting colors like the bright, beet-red Hyacinthus orientalis ‘Woodstock’, or as a color echo with Tulipa ‘American Dream’.
The species daffodil N. bulbocodium var. conspicuus (Zones 3–9) has been around so long that no one can actually put a date on it. Its look is unusual: It does have six golden petals, but they are tiny, twisted, and often difficult to see. Its prominent rounded cup gives rise to its nickname, hoop petticoats. It prefers acidic soil and when happy, will reseed, blooming like buttercups in groups. Only 4 to 6 inches tall, it naturalizes itself in many areas.
This Division 10 Bulbocodium species blooms late in the season, bearing up to 5 fragrant and nodding golden-yellow flowers. It has cylindrical, dark-green stems to 12 inches. It is good for naturalizing, and prefers neutral to alkaline soil.
This Tazetta/Division 10 daffodil is a species well-suited to forcing. It produces white clusters of up to 10 half-inch-wide blooms, which are strongly scented.
This tender Paperwhite is well-suited to forcing. It blooms in only two or three weeks from planting, bearing pure-white, musk-scented flowers atop 16 to 18 inch tall stems.
This dwarf, non-fruiting olive cultivar is an evergreen tree reaching 4 to 6 feet high and wide. It has attractive dark green leaves.
Sourwood, the lone species of the genus, is found in woodlands and along streams of eastern North America. This plant (named for the sour taste of its leaves) forms a pyramidal tree to 30 feet tall, with canoe-shaped, glossy leaves that turn vivid maroon, yellow, or purple in autumn. In late summer, its delicate panicles of fragrant, urn-shaped flowers spray forward, decorating the tree in white. The blossoms, which resemble lily-of-the-valley, are followed by yellowish seed capsules that turn brown and persist into winter. It makes an outstanding specimen both for a prominent position and also for a naturalized setting.
Parrotia persica has one of the most beautiful foliage displays, in addition to year-round eye appeal and ease of maintenance. Reddish-purple when unfolding in spring, the leaves are a lustrous dark green in summer, and yellow to orange or scarlet in fall. Leaves hold their color for a long period. Older branches and trunks develop an exfoliating gray, green, white, and brown color that is a welcome asset in the winter garden. It grows successfully in Zones 4 to 8, tolerates sun and partial shade, and is easy to transplant. Often, vegetatively propogated forms offer more reliable fall color.
This deciduous tree has thick shoots and large, lobed, bright green leaves. Fragrant pinkish lilac flowers appear in late spring with the foliage. When grown as a perennial, its robust shoots become sturdy stems 2 inches in diameter, with mammoth leaves as much as 2 feet across. Paulownia tomentosa can grow to 12 feet tall in a single season.
This spreading tree with a graceful habit bears glossy, dark green leaflets. Thick shoots grow quickly when young—and more slowly as the tree reaches maturity. In fall, foliage turns a handsome shade of yellow and the tree bears clusters of blue-black berries. Deeply corrugated, pale gray-brown bark is a striking feature; unfortunately, it doesn’t develop until the tree matures.
A compact plant with a mature height of 8 feet, this conifer is densely globe-shaped when young, becoming pyramidal as it ages. Needles are soft green on top, bluish green at the bottom.
This spruce has blue foliage and drooping branches. It grows 3 or 4 inches a year, eventually spreading to about 8 feet wide and 4 feet tall, with silvery needles like its parent species.
'Procumbens' is similar to 'Pendula' in color but prostrate in habit, with cascading branches sometimes staying stiffly horizontal. Makes a spreading, undulating, mounding ground cover of silvery white needles.
This is a dwarf conifer with a rounded form. Juvenile needles grow like miniature puffballs on the tips of stubby, round branches and age to a silvery blue on one side and green on the other.
This pine's needles are marked with bands of yellow and green. The buttery yellow variegation on the 3- to 5-inch needles is present year-round, but intensifies as summer turns to fall and persists into winter. The scaly, fissured bark is lovely, ranging in color from gray to rich rusty orange. This is a graceful tree when mature, with an irregular branching habit and tilted trunk.
Dark green, 4- to 6-inch-long needles and furrowed bark (on mature trees) make Austrian pine an attractive large specimen tree. It can also be used as screening, although its growth habit becomes more open with age.
The yellow-green leaves of this pine are 4 to 6 inches long. The bark is densely branched and flaky and reddish in the upper crown, scaly and pink-gray at the base. The tree has thick orange to red-brown shoots, chestnut-brown female cones, and purple male cones.
This robust evergreen tree has a narrowly columnar crown with ascending branches, slender gray-green leaves, and smooth gray bark. Tapered green female cones ripen to brown.
'Schubert' choke cherry, with its vivid foliage and pyramidal form, makes a fine focal point. Ephemeral, light pink flowers are followed by abundant, dark red-purple fruit that birds love. (Don't plant it near patios or walks, as they'll quickly be covered by bird droppings.) If the tree you buy isn't grafted onto nonsuckering rootstock; otherwise, suckers could become problematic as the years go by. -Ron Smith, Regional Picks: Upper Plains, Fine Gardening issue #120
The golden larch is a lovely deciduous conifer whose lacy foliage turns golden in autumn. Its bright green needles are slightly larger than those of the European larch. Golden larch becomes a large pyramidal tree with an ultimate height of about 50 feet in cultivation. Its broad, horizontal branches are arranged in an open growth habit. In a big garden, it makes a neat specimen that never fails to attract attention.
This short-lived shrub or small tree with feathery foliage is blanketed in late spring with fragrant, pea-shaped violet blooms with white wings. Though it is native to streamsides, scurf pea doesn't require extravagant watering and survives occasional drought. When the plants eventually die, they leave ample progeny and straight branches useful for garden stakes. Combine with azaleas and camellias, which bloom at the same time.
Lemon-lime foliage, fuzzy stems, and intense fall color make this sumac cultivar a standout. It grows into an upright, rounded form about 6 feet tall and as wide. New growth emerges chartreuse. Fall brings leaves of yellow, scarlet, and orange. Flowers are yellowish green and followed, on female plants, by hairy, dark red fruit. This plant spreads by suckers and can be invasive. The species is native to North America.
This large, fast-growing tree has droopy leaves that stay sunny yellow from spring until frost, spiny shoots, and fragrant white flowers in late spring and early summer on pendent racemes. The flowers are followed by smooth brown seed pods that are also interesting. 'Frisia' is one of the cultivars that is grown more for foliage than for its flowers and it does not flower as freely as the species.
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.
Tulipa 'Red Riding Hood' (introduced in 1953) is a true beauty, with flowers that are scarlet red inside, carmine outside, and black at the base. They float above richly striped foliage on 10- to 12-inch tall stems.
This species tulip blooms in mid- to late spring with fire-engine-red flowers that look like open, pointed stars with purple centers. It reaches 4-6 inches tall and not quite as wide. Species tulips prefer sharp drainage and plenty of room to grow; they will often naturalize. Most do well in rock gardens, small displays, and containers.
This bunch tulip has multiple orange-red flowers that bloom in spring above green leaves edged in creamy white. A species tulip, it is more likely to bloom in subsequent years. It reaches less than a foot tall and is stunning planted en masse.
Blackhaw Viburnum is a large shrub or small tree with clusters of creamy white flowers followed by pink-rose berries, which birds love to eat. Its distinctive bronze-green foliage on reddish purple stems turns blue-black in the fall. Blackhaw grows to 12 to 15 feet high and 8 to12 feet wide.
This small tree boasts an upright, spreading form and finely dissected gray-green foliage. Its spiky lilac-blue flowers appear from June through September; bloom can be prolonged by deadheading. Chaste tree can grow to 20 feet in southern climates, but in colder areas only 8 to 10 feet.
Chaste tree is a southern favorite beginning to gain favor across the country. Whether left to grow as a large, multistemmed shrub or cut back annually for a more compact look, this selection is a winner. Fine, lacy leaves are glossy and green. Bright blue flower panicles begin to form in early summer and continue through the heat of the season and into fall. This is a reasonably cold-hardy, deer-resistant woody plant, and while V. agnus-castus is typically considered a Zone 7 plant, the variety latifolia can be grown in Zone 6 and even in southern areas of Zone 5.
Long thought extinct, the wollemi pine was discovered in 1994 in a remote section of Australia. With only a small grove in existence, a plan was developed to save the tree from extinction by propagating it and selling its offspring. Trials in the U.S. have placed the wollemi pine in Zones 7 to 11. Grow it in full sun. Because this tree has been around since the time of the dinosaurs, it's safe to say it is long-lived. And apparently brontosaurus browsing isn't a problem.
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
The most familiar calla, this 3-foot-tall and 2-foot-wide plant has large white flowers—up to 10 inches long—that surround a creamy yellow fingerlike centerpiece. They bloom from late spring to mid-summer. The upright, arrow-shaped leaves are solid green and glossy.
These Mexican native bulbs actually offer demanding gardeners flowers on demand. They produce strappy foliage to 12 inches tall and clusters of buttery-yellow, starry, crocus-like blossoms two to three days after every rain in summer and early autumn. Or, if it doesn't rain, simply water and fertilize three days prior to your intended display, and the moisture will prompt the flowers to appear, hence the common name, rainflower. These bulbs are widely adaptable to diverse soil conditions, and may be grown in full sun to partial shade, but they prefer some shade.
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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