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This 2.5- to 3-feet-tall and 1.5-foot wide plant produces dense, flat clusters of golden yellow flowers above fern-like, silvery foliage starting in early summer.
This rhizomic, mat-forming and aggressive perennial frows to 2 feet tall and wide with ferny, finely-textured, green foliage. Flowers are produced in flat corymbs in early to late summer.
This popular gray-leaved yarrow has 18-inch-tall yellow flower heads that last for several weeks in late summer.
This rhizomatous, mat-forming, upright, aggressive perennial produces strong red flowers in flat corymbs in summer atop finely-textured, aromatic foliage.
Actaea racemosa is a native woodland perennial with white, somewhat fuzzy flowers in midsummer that wave above astilbe-like, deeply cut foliage. The flowers can be unpleasantly scented, thus the name "bugbane." Formerly in the genus Cimicifuga, this plant is great for use in a woodland garden or moist border.
This fast spreader has dark green leaves with deep blue flowers spring to summer.
Black foliage and spiky blue flowers (which appear in early summer) make a dramatic contrast. 'Black Scallop' thrives in full sun, which intensifies the black color. In full sun, the plant produces numerous runners, which should be thinned to prevent crown rot. In large plantings, you can run a rotary mower with a bagger attachment over the patch to control crowding and keep the foliage fresh. In mixed container plantings, the spilling habit of the plant makes it a standout choice. -Ron Smith, Regional Picks: Upper Plains, Fine Gardening issue #120
About a third the size of the more well known A. mollis, A. alpina has delicate leaves edged in brilliant silver.
In addition to willow blue-star’s small but charming clusters of blue flowers in late spring, it has upright, willow-like leaves that turn clear yellow in fall.
Low-growing rosettes of long gray leaves covered in fine gray hairs and gray-white flowers in spring that resemble a cat's paw make Antennaria great plants for edging, pathways, or stone walls.
This clump-forming perennial produces many weeks of daisy-like flowers in summer. It is great in borders and works well as a cut flower.
This airy perennial has ternate dark green leaves, and produces many nodding flowers from midspring to midsummer. Its scarlet flowers have yellow, downward-pointing sepals.
A. chrysantha is a vigorous grower that will add a real burst of color to any southern garden. This southwestern U.S. native has 3-inch yellow flowers in spring and reaches almost 3 feet tall.
Usually this plant produces nodding blue and white flowers, but color variation is common in this species.
Goat's beard is a perennial native to eastern North America and parts of Europe and Siberia. It is grown for its tall stature (up to 6 feet) and showy, cream-colored plumes of flowers in summer. The effect is that of a giant astilbe. Plants with male flowers produce showier and more erect plumes than plants with female flowers, whose plumes are more pendent and less creamy-white. Grow in a woodland garden or moist border, or at waterside.
This striking, richly-textured, deciduous ground cover has heart-shaped leaves that turn mauve in autumn. Purple, blue, or white flowers appear in late summer to early fall.
Tatarian aster is an impressive, stately perennial with a flowering height of 3 to 6 feet. It can look you in the eye yet require no staking. More important, this aster flowers longer than any other garden aster, beginning in late September and early October and continuing into November. The 1-inch-wide, light lavender flowers are a magnet for local and migrating monarch butterflies. This plant tolerates many soil types, can form large colonies in a few years, and is easily divided.
False blue indigo's spikes of clear blue flowers in late spring can nearly carry a border by themselves. They also make great cut flowers. Large, inflated nearly black seed pods set in after flowering, giving this plant another interesting element. It is low maintenance and will look great in any natural or informal setting.
This plant is noted for its beautiful bronze fall foliage. Its leaves are rounded to heart-shaped and sometimes puckered, growing to about 12 inches. It bears pink to rose-red flowers on red stalks in late winter to early spring.
This woodland plant is valued for its flowers and groundcovering leaves. Terminal clusters of delicate blue flowers appear in spring.
10 Outstanding Succulents
Skip the finicky selections and go for these unique yet reliable beauties
by Maureen Gilmer
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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
Q&A Ground covers to avoid
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