Stay Connected with Fine Gardening
OR Browse All Plants
'Indigo Spires' sage is a vigorous hybrid prized for its 12- to 15-inch-long, twisting spikes of dark violet flowers. It is a non-stop bloomer from early summer through fall. Blooming can be further encouraged by pinching stem tips early in the growing season and deadheading the spikes once they fade. 'Indigo Spires' quickly grows to 4 feet high, and can be grown as an annual where not hardy.
Throughout the summer, 'Mystic Spires Blue' produces long stalks of dark blue flowers, which continue to reward in abundance when deadheaded. Refresh tired plants in midsummer by cutting them back by half. This cultivar makes an excellent bedding or container plant.
From late spring to fall, this easy-going perennial bears deep orange-red flowers on 3- to 4-foot-tall spikes that rise above a loose, 6-foot-wide mound of heart-shaped, sticky leaves. The native habitat for this brightly colored salvia is a very limited area at an altitude of 9,000 feet in the narrow range of the Mexican Sierra Madre Oriental Mountains.
This perennial produces long spires of large, deep blue flowers from mid-summer to frost. It forms a tall bush 6 feet tall by 2 feet wide that is great for the back of the border. It is drought tolerant because of its unusual, moisture-conserving rhizomes.
This downy, bushy, evergreen subshrub produces white or purple flowers clasped by soft purple calyces from late summer to frost. It grows 3 feet tall by 3 feet wide, and is great for the border. Salvias are some of the showiest plants for containers, annual borders, and mixed borders. Butterflies and hummingbirds love them.
This unusual tender perennial displays an electric color combination when its vibrant purple-blue flowers open from bright chartreuse calyces. Fortunately, glossy, bright green leaves hold their own until the show gets started in August (and continues until frost). It forms a tall bush, 6 feet tall by 6 feet wide, which is great for the back of the border. Salvias are some of the showiest plants for containers, annual borders, and mixed borders. Butterflies and hummingbirds love them.
This native of the American Southwest and Mexico forms an evergreen shrub or shrubby perennial with dark, glossy leaves that are small (but slightly larger than most microphyllas) and softly toothed. It blooms off and on all summer, and again, more vigorously, in late summer and autumn, in blossoms of cherry-red. Its attractive foliage cloaks the plant to the ground, so it is well suited to the front of the border. It can grow to 4 feet tall and twice as wide.
West Texas cobalt sage is a marvelously distinct species that can be enjoyed by gardeners farther north, as long as they purchase the west Texas form, which is quite cold-hardy. This salvia has rigid stems with narrow, pungent leaves and resembles a bright green, upright grass for much of the growing season. In early fall, cobalt blue flowers burst open almost overnight and are a big draw for hummingbirds. Thanks to its deep roots, this wildflower is extremely xeric. West Texas cobalt sage grows to 4 feet tall.
This moisture-loving perennial produces clear blue flowers with white highlights in late summer to mid-autumn. It forms an airy clump to 6 feet tall by 3 feet wide, and is great for the back of a border. It is tolerant of heavy soils.
This lovely goldenrod has velvety leaves that are gray-green in summer and dusky rose in autumn. It has broad, flattened clusters of rich yellow flowers, which create a striking display on stems 2 to 5 feet tall.
This species has open, tree-shaped flower clusters that radiate out like a fountain. It has given rise to S. rugosa 'Fireworks'. It can grow to 7 feet tall and blooms in mid- to late autumn.
This eye-catching cultivar has flower clusters that radiate out in all directions and resemble streaming yellow fireworks. Its form is truly unique and enchanting. It reliably provides end-of-season color in blazing shades of yellow. It grows to 5 feet tall and provides good structure in the garden all year.
From mid-summer to early autumn, this Thalictrum species has clusters of large, fluffy-looking flowers with lilac to white petals and pale yellow stamens atop wiry, purple-tinted stems and delicately textured foliage. Plants grow to 4 feet tall and half as wide.
This cultivar has some of the showiest flowers of the meadow rues. From mid-summer to early autumn, it bears tight, pompom-like clusters of lilac-mauve sepals atop wiry, purple tinted stems and delicately textured foliage. Plant toward the back of a border; it may require staking.
This classy specimen has beautifully textured, blue-gray foliage. Its summertime pale yellow flowers are petalless and fringed, occurring in clusters atop chalky bluish gray stems. Plant at the back of a border; it may require staking.
This beautiful specimen has tall, delicate stems punctuated by clusters of columbine-like, bluish gray leaves. In summer, it bears sprays of nodding lavender-pink or white flowers with pale yellow stamens that reach as high as 3 feet. Plants grow to 12 inches wide. Plant at the back of a border; it may require staking.
Building Better Borders
Use plant combinations that focus on complementary colors, textures, and forms
PLANTING PLAN: A deer-resistant bed that shines in fall and winter
by Nancy Matthews
Q&A Economical edging for beds
by Kate Feely
Are Pressure Treated Woods Safe in Garden Beds?
by Phil Wood
4 Ways to Remove Sod
When starting a bed, choose the method that suits you best
by Steve Carroll
FineGardening.com and VegetableGardener.com are part ofthe Taunton Home and Garden Network
Taunton Home |
Books & Videos |
Contact Us |
Product recall information
Copyright Notice |
Taunton Guarantee |
User Agreement |
About Us |
Work for Us |
Contact Us |
Press Room |
| Subscriber Alert
© 2013 The Taunton Press, Inc., Part of Taunton’s Women’s Network. All rights reserved.