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Actaea rubra bears white flowers from spring to early summer on plants up to 2 feet tall and 1 foot wide. In late summer, glossy red berries develop. A few cultivars exist. This woodland perennial is native to the U.S.
About a third the size of the more well known A. mollis, A. alpina has delicate leaves edged in brilliant silver.
This plant produces fast-growing, edible, pungent, onion-like leaves. Small, white flowers appear in late summer.
A. ficoidea ‘Red Threads’ is a slender-leaved perennial selection that doesn't wander, forming a textured carpet in shades of deep burgundy. A single plant makes a mound about 8 inches tall and 14 inches wide. It blooms on and off all year, but you may never notice. The small, pale flower buttons are held in the leaf axils, where they are nearly indistinguishable from the foliage unless you're paying close attention. Use 'Red Threads' at the base of taller plants in the border to provide vibrant color echoes or contrasts. Grow as a warm-season annual in cooler climates, mass the plants in beds, or use in a formal knot garden as the Victorians did.
This plant produces a great low-growing mat of flowers. The cheerful starlike blossoms come in pink, blue, and white, and the attractive finely cut leaves disappear soon after flowering.
These plants are noted for their lovely, 1/2- to 1- inch-diameter crystalline white flowers. Resembling little pinwheels, each flower is composed of 6 to 10 colorful sepals spinning around a nub of lime-green and yellow. Their typical color is pure and bright white, but you might find the tinted soft rose Anemonella thalictroides f. rosea at a specialty nursery.
The only member of its genus, rue anemone is a tuberous perennial native to the woodlands of eastern North America. 'Rosea' has pink, fragile, cup-shaped flowers on slender stems from spring to early summer, a long bloom sesaon for a spring wildflower. It often goes dormant in summer. Its flowers resemble a small anemone and its leaves resemble Thalictrum (meadow rue), hence its common name of "rue anemone." Use this delicate, small plant in a shady rock garden, in a woodland or native plant garden, or as underplanting in a shady shrub border
Upright, low perennial with deep mauve to violet two-lipped flowers blooming all summer. Angelonia are superlative container plants, and can also be grown as bedding annuals.
This plant bears terminal racemes of two to three nodding blue flowers, sometimes with white tips.
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.
The fan columbine produces short, plump, nodding, blue-purple flowers with white petal tips.
Usually this plant produces nodding blue and white flowers, but color variation is common in this species.
This is a high-drama native. Its gracious, high-impact, powdery-white shrubby mounded foliage grows to 4 feet tall.
European wild ginger is a low-growing groundcover with glossy, evergreen, heart-shaped leaves. Its unusual purple-brown flowers lie mostly concealed beneath foliage.
This wild ginger is an evergreen groundcover with heart-shaped, shiny leaves that are often marbled. Its interesting brown-purple flowers hide beneath the foliage.
This clumping, bushy perennial has slender stems and small, lance-shaped, medium green leaves. From late summer to late fall, it produces white flowerheads with yellow centers to a half-inch across. Its cultivars may bear flowers tinged pink or blue.
This is a dwarf astilbe with attractive red-green leaves and reddish pink flowers in broad, dense conical groups. Its blooms appear mostly in summer.
The broad silvery leaves of ‘Ursula’s Red’ have a showy burgundy band at the center of the leaves in spring. This plant can double in size in a single growing season, as it spreads from rhizomes. Though deer do like it, it may simply grow more fronds and not show any lasting damage. --Michael Ruggiero, Regional Picks: Mid-Atlantic, Fine Gardening issue #127
Unlike many other shade garden plants with their cool blue colors, 'Cowardly Lion' rex begonia offers rich warm tones. Chocolate-colored leaf veins veil the golden leaves, which become darker with age and make a fine counterpoint to yellow-based foliage plants. -Rita Randolph, Rex begonias, Fine Gardening issue #120
'Escargot' takes its name from the snail-like curl pattern at the base of the leaf. The foliage is striking enough to stand on its own but it's a good mixer, too. Use it with other foliage plants and brightly colored blooms. This is an extremely popular Rex hybrid begonia. -Rita Randolph, Rex begonias, Fine Gardening issue #120
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
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