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As an herb, A. graveolens is commonly grown for the culinary attributes of its leaves and seeds. Its distinctive foliage texture and flower color and form make this plant a nice companion in a mixed border. It provides a valuable food source for butterfly larvae and attracts beneficial insects also.
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 plant produces distinct, 2-inch blossoms primarily in rich blue (but also in shades of purple and white), with dark eyes smudged white. It is suitable for sun and partial shade.
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.
Feathery, almost fern-like leaves are mid- to dark green. In summer, larkspur bears delphinium-like open to densely packed spikes to 24 inches tall of pink, white, or violet-blue double flowers.
This unique annual produces quilled blossoms of hollow, tube-shaped petals that radiate from the center in shades of white, pink, or carmine red. The flowers, which bloom all summer long, sometimes have bicolored interior and exterior tubes.
This series of annuals produces extra large, cup-shaped blossoms to 3-1/2 inches across in shades of white or pink all summer long.
This series produces compact plants 1 foot tall and about as wide with large blossoms in pure white and many shades of pink. These season-long performers make fine edging plants.
Cosmos are branching annuals with ferny foliage and pink, crimson, or white flowers that work well in the back of a border. Although introduced in 1799, cosmos did not beome popular for the garden or as the subject of breeding efforts until the early 1900s. The rest is now history. The variety 'Sensation' won the All-American Selection Award of Merit in 1936 for its clear colors of pink and white, on early-blooming, 3- to 4-foot-tall plants. 'Purity' is the glistening white form of cosmos in the 'Sensation' series. 'Sea Shells' has quilled florets. The Sonata Series cultivars are dwarf plants only growing to about a foot or two tall.
Fringed flowers in shades of bright red with white centers open without fragrance in summer.
A captivating little plant for the front of the border, tassel flower produces small, scarlet-orange pompons which, when viewed from a distance, seem like they’re floating in air. The flowers cluster at the top of wiry stems that rise from a basal rosette of blue-green leaves. Plants occasionally self-sow when sited in a good location. With its small habit, tassel flower lends itself well to container gardens and fresh-cut flower arrangements, adding an element of whimsy. Its delicate and airy nature looks best with bold-leaved or showy plants in the background, creating a see-through effect. To magnify their magic, mass several plants together.
Blanket flower is a bushy annual that produces red or yellow (or red and yellow) flowers over a long season. The blooms are daisy-shaped with a dark purple central disk. Growing to about 18 inches tall, this native of central and southern U.S. and Mexico is nice in a meadow, cut flower garden, border, or rock garden.
Sunflowers are some of the easiest plants to start from seed. They are available in numerous cultivars which span the range of heights, flower colors, and form.
These branching plants with thick stems and glossy mid-green leaves grow 5 to 6 feet tall. Slightly nodding flowerheads 2.5 inches or more across appear in summer. Bright yellow ray florets are sometimes flushed with red or purple-red disk florets.
Love-in-a-mist-bears delicate flowers 1.5 inches across in various shades of blue and white, surrounded by finely divided foliage. Blooms appear mainly in May and June, and sporadically throughout the summer, followed by attractive 1-inch-wide green seedpods that change to cream and burgundy over time.
This easy-going annual has 2- to 3-inch-wide blue flowers with black centers and wine-colored stamens, along with light green ferny foliage. Striking chalice-shaped seedpods form on sturdy stems and are green when they emerge, turning tan as they harden.
This biennial makes a superb, self-sown companion in a mixed border or wild garden. It reaches up to 5 feet tall and exhibits a long-lasting, airy spray of small, daisy-like blossoms in yellow with purple-black centers. The flowers are beautiful in late summer bouquets.
This fragrant annual is covered with delicate, daisy-like yellow blossoms in July and August. It is best grown as a groundcover, between paving stones, or in a rock garden. It has needle-like, almost ferny leaves and grows to 1 foot tall and wide.
This old-fashioned cultivar of the species has a mounding habit and grows 10-12 inches tall. In summer and early fall, it bears deep red and orange blossoms, which are offset by rounded leaves with white variegation. The leaves and flowers are edible.
This old-fashioned cultivar of the species has a mounding habit and grows 12 inches tall and about as wide. In summer and fall, it bears cherry-red flowers. These annuals are native to South America. They are suitable for garden edges, herb gardens, covering banks, hanging baskets, and other containers.
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Two experts pick their favorites based on color, shape
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How to Grow Trilliums
Plant the best species for your region in fall for a spectacular display in spring
by Gene E. Bush
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