Stay Connected with Fine Gardening
OR Browse All Plants
“Soft caress,” indeed! You’ll barely recognize this shade dweller as an Oregon grape when it sends up its long slender foliage without a single thorn. Its spikes of fragrant, lemon yellow flowers bloom from fall through winter, and will add a jolt to any shady bed. But the large clusters of silver-blue berries that follow the blooms are what I look forward to most. For the best results, give this drought-tolerant perennial afternoon shade, well-draining soil, and plenty of water the first year. -Leslie Finical Halleck, Fine Gardening # 147 (October 2012), page 74
Horehound is a spreading perennial with scalloped, toothed, gray-green leaves, white-felted beneath, to 2 inches long. Small tubular flowers open in whorls in late spring, varying from tepid gray and pale lilac to greenish white.
Mazus reptans is a mat-forming perennial with rosettes of lance-shaped toothed leaves. It spreads quickly through rooting stems. From late spring to mid-summer, it bears 2- to 5-flowered racemes of snapdragon-like purple-blue flowers with lower lips spotted with yellow and red.
A native perennial shrub that grows to about 2 feet tall and wide and covers itself the whole season with honey-scented, white and yellow daisy flowers. The foliage is typical of the aster family. Plant en masse in a well-drained border or use in a rock garden. Blackfoot daisy can be short-lived.
This clump-forming perennial has light blue to purplish blue pendulous flowers that open from pink buds atop 16- to 24-inch stems in mid- to late spring. Elliptic to ovate, hairless, bluish green leaves yellow and die back once the flowers fade after about 10 days.
This bushy perennial has oval, deep green leaves on branched stems. In summer, blooms appear: fragrant red, pink, magenta, yellow or white flowers with a delicate, faded-vanilla aroma. Flowers open in late afternoon and die by morning.
Native to the southwestern U.S., California, and Mexico, wild four o'clocks cover themselves with hundreds of purple-pink, petunia-like blooms that open in unison in the afternoon or in the morning on cloudy days. Their musky fragrance attracts their primary pollinator, the hawkmoth. Grow in a border. xeric garden, or rock garden.
Bee balm, a clump-forming perennial, bears minty-scented scarlet, pink, or purple flowers in midsummer on branching, square stems. Leaves are aromatic as well. This native of eastern North America attracts hummingbirds and butterflies.
Attractive, glossy, fan-shaped leaves and creamy white bell-shaped flowers are borne in dense panicles for several weeks in spring. After flowering is complete, green leaves turn a rich burgundy color with reddish orange highlights on their margins.
An oversize tender perennial, blood banana has large, fleshy, rubberlike leaves with dark markings. The foliage is green with random reddish purple blotches. On mature plants, orange or red flowers develop into inedible orange fruits. -Julia Jones, Designing with annuals, Fine Gardening issue #120
This short-lived perennial or biennial has ovate to lance-shaped, velvety gray-green leaves to 4.5 inches long. Myriad saucer-shaped blue or white flowers with yellow eyes are borne in clusters from spring to early summer.
This elegant fern-like herb has a mounding form and anise-flavored bright-green leaves. In late spring, it bears compound umbels of star-shaped white flowers, followed by shiny, ridged brown seeds.
This mound of lavender-blue flowers and aromatic, grayish green leaves up to 2 feet tall and 3 feet wide is great as edging or in a border, herb, or rock garden. It is an easy to grow, prolific bloomer that seems to be deer resistant. It blooms the whole summer and tolerates some shade. It also looks great with roses or on walls.
This cultivar is a clump-forming perennial with toothed gray-green leaves and larger flowers than the hybrid. It flowers profusely and long, especially if sheared. The blue-purple flowers are small but abundant, and the foliage is aromatic.
This new compact catmint, with the cultivar name 'Psfike', only reaches 8 to 10 inches tall and 12 to 16 inches wide, the perfect size for containers, bed edges, or other small nooks and crannies. It features the same silvery foliage and summer lavender blooms that we know and love, and thrives in full sun to partial shade and well-drained soil in Zones 4 to 9.
'Little Red' is a dwarf selection of oleander, which is a large evergreen shrub. Its flowers are deep red and bloom all summer long. This plant is tough and drought-tolerant.
This short nicotiana bears fragrant, flat, star-like flowers in many colors: crimson, purple, wine, rose, pink, lime green, and white. It is a day-bloomer with uniform size and compact habit. Cultivars vary in height: from 'Domino' (12 inches), 'Nicki' (20 inches), and 'Sensation' (36 inches), up to 'Grandiflora' (48 inches), as well as flower color and foliage. Blooms face upward or horizontally and remain open in full sun.
'Pesto Perpetuo' basil not only produces copious amounts of leaves for cooking but also is easy on the eye. It has creamy white variegated leaves and a columnar habit. It does not flower, so nothing will detract from the foliage.
Black mondo grass has straplike, shiny black foliage and grows in little tufts. The grasslike foliage looks good with chartreuse foliage, variegated woodland plants, and with its own flowers, which bloom in midsummer. Young leaves start out with a greenish hue that soon turns to black. The flowers are bell shaped and can be pink, pale violet, or white, and are followed by fleshy black seeds that may remain on the plant all winter. This perennial is evergreen in mild winters or in the warmer portions of its range. It looks stunning in a shady container planting. -Lou Anella, Regional Picks: Southern Plains, Fine Gardening issue #127
This plant is a creeping perennial that reaches 24 inches tall. Dark green leaves have a rich purple tint, and its purplish pink flower clusters appear from late spring through autumn. ‘Herrenhausen’ (Zones 5–8) displays masses of showy pink flowers with maroon bracts on purplish stems. ‘Hopleys’ (Zones 7–10) is taller (up to 36 inches) with large, long-blooming, deep pink flowers, and is a vigorous grower, more tolerant of heat than ‘Herrenhausen’.
10 Outstanding Succulents
Skip the finicky selections and go for these unique yet reliable beauties
by Maureen Gilmer
Building Better Borders
Use plant combinations that focus on complementary colors, textures, and forms
A guide to growing, care, and propagation of rex begonias, plus some great cultivars
by Rita Randolph
PLANTING PLAN: A deer-resistant bed that shines in fall and winter
by Nancy Matthews
Q&A Economical edging for beds
by Kate Feely
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. All rights reserved.