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Amaranthus cruentus makes a striking statement in beds or borders. Growing to 6 feet in height, it bears somewhat fuzzy-looking spires of purplish red flowers in summer, followed by seed heads that can be red, purple, or yellow. It is native to tropical regions of North and South America, and is one of three Amaranthus species cultivated for their grain.
California poppies grow to about 12 inches tall, and their pretty foliage is ferny, like carrot tops. They come in a variety of colors, from the standard golden orange, to yellow, cream, and red. Grow them in a border or rock garden.
California poppies grow to about 12 inches tall, and their pretty foliage is ferny, like carrot tops. This cultivar has soft rose colored, double blooms with yellow centers.
Cardinal climber is a twining annual with deeply lobed mid-green leaves and 1-inch crimson blooms with white throats appearing in summer.
This unusual annual vine can add vertical interest to the garden. Its vivid blossoms (red tooth-like flowers that fade to orange and then yellow and white) are a hummingbird magnet. Firecracker vine can bloom year round in warm climates, but generally blooms from summer to fall. It is a native of Mexico and Central and South America. -Julia Jones, Designing with Annuals, Fine Gardening issue #120
Sprays of long, tubular buds spark into a fiery scarlet and fade to a pale cream on this annual climbing vine. A single flower holds tints of yellow, warm pink, orange, and red as if a watercolorist had laid down colors one layer at a time. As the bud matures, the colors wash away, leaving a pale blossom pushed open at the tip by protruding anthers. From a distance, the plant seems to be covered in hundreds of brightly lit candles. This vine also produces rich, bronzy-purple new growth which ages to a lovely deep green. The heavily indented, trilobed leaves resemble a hawk's strong wings, giving the plant the look of birds in flight. The foliage stays intact and healthy until frost. The bottom of the vine sheds its leaves as the season progresses, so disguising its bare base behind lower-growing plants is a must.
Broad, deep-green leaves nearly a foot long and panicles of flowers the color of a Granny Smith apple make this Nicotiana a great companion for many other garden plants. It looks especially handsome with dark-foliaged trees or shrubs like purple smoke bush (Cotinus coggygria ‘Royal Purple’) or ‘Diabolo’ ninebark (Physocarpus opulifolius ‘Diabolo’). It is also good with grasses. N. langsdorffii comes into its own as a moderator wherever colors clash. That chameleon-like quality makes this nicotiana’s propensity to self-sow most welcome; no matter where its progeny appear, they look great.
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.
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by Stephanie Cohen
Spectacular Spring Bloomers
These perennials are the light at the end of the long, wintry tunnel
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Find out what all the buzz is about by planting these colorful perennials
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Enchanting Japanese Maples
Two experts pick their favorites based on color, shape
by Francie Schroeder
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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