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Rounded, ruffled leaves form a solid, weed-free, evergreen ground cover. In the spring, elongating shoots open to rounded heads of small four-petaled white flowers. Plants remain in bloom for nearly a month, opening new flowers from expanding terminal clusters as well as from numerous side shoots. Mature plants stand 12 to 18 inches high when in flower, and spread in time to form clumps 2 to 3 feet wide.
This clump-forming, semi-evergreen perennial has long prostrate stems and pewter-green foliage. Fragrant, bottlebrush-like white flowers are borne on 2- to 4-inch-long spikes in spring, as the foliage appears.
This plant has leathery, evergreen dark green foliage with slightly indented margins. It reaches about 8 to 10 inches tall and bears tiny white male flowers. It spreads by rhizomes, eventually forming a mat at least 2 inches thick. Cultivars offer more compact form with smaller, finely toothed leaves ('Green Carpet') or glossy dark green leaves ('Green Sheen').
This stunning herbaceous woodland peony has upright red-mottled stems and dark green leaves that are elliptic or lance-shaped with rough margins. It bears usually solitary, single creamy white to pale pink blossoms that are cup-shaped and elegant. The blooms measure 3 to 4 inches across and have pale yellow stamens. Like all peonies, the flowers are with us for too short a time. They are followed by beautiful seedpods.
This plant is a beautiful addition to the garden from early spring until autumn. Red shoots with a crystalline dusting emerge in early April, followed by 5-inch-long, egg-shaped leaves that mature to a dark, reddish green. Each 18-inch stem bears a 2-inch-wide, chalice-like, single pure-white flower with yellow anthers and purple filaments. Mature seedpods open to reveal metallic-blue pea-sized fertile seeds and holly-berry red unfertilized seeds.
Panicum Ruby Ribbons’ soft blue-green foliage emerges in the spring on upright, clumping plants. The foliage takes on a wine-red color in early summer, which intensifies as the season progresses. Flower heads appear in late summer, followed by ornamental seed heads, which, if left uncut, provide long-lasting winter interest.
Iceland poppy is a short-lived perennial usually grown as a cool-weather annual, or biennial. From hairy tufts of linear blue-green foliage rise wiry stems bearing a pendant bud. The single (occasionally double) short-lived flowers unwrinkle their petals into a wide-spreading saucer shape 3 inches across.
The 4- to 6-inch-wide blooms of 'Flamenco Dancer' poppy stand out in late spring and early summer with their true red color and fanciful fringes. It is a sport of the popular 'Turkenlouis'. After the flowers fade, this perennial will go dormant, so plant it near neighbors that will fill the vacancy.
This native of Australia has blue-green perfoliate leaves (similar to some eucalyptus) and blue-lilac flowers on somewhat floppy stems. Digger's speedwell likes a hot location and will ramble over walls or grow through shrubs beautifully.
The flowers of vesper iris open in the late afternoon over a period of several minutes, just about the time the sound of evening vespers might have wafted over an old monastery garden. It is a valuable addition to the garden also because of its late blooming season (high summer into early fall) and for its ability to bloom from seed started the same spring. The vesper iris has typical iris-looking leaf fans and abundantly branched, willowy bloom stalks rising to 4 feet. The inch-wide flowers range in color from pure white to violet.
Wild quinine bears lustrous foliage and long-lasting white flowers throughout the season, even in heat and drought. It is native to moist prairies, low meadows, and open woods from Massachusetts and Minnesota, south to Georgia and Arkansas.
From a basal mound of toothed leaves (similar to scabiosa's foliage) rise 4- to 6-foot stems of tiny chrome-yellow flowers.
'Crystal Palace Gem' was first introduced in 1869 and has been a star in the garden ever since. It was named for Joseph Paxton's elaborate glass house designed in 1851 for London's Great Exhibition in Hyde Park. Like its namesake, the plant is showy, with its round chartreuse leaves with a midgreen center and its salmon-red flowers. 'Crystal Palace Gem' looks good from spring until frost. -Marty Wingate, Plants to know and grow, Fine Gardening issue #120
Rose-scented leaves and clusters of pale pink flowers adorn this trailing geranium. Grow in a location where the foliage can be touched and, thus, the scent released.
‘Lady Scarborough’ is blessed with strawberry-scented, crinkled-edge leaves and pale pink flowers with dark markings. It works well in a hanging basket if left unpruned.
This trailing plant has peppermint-scented, deeply cut leaves and mauve flowers.
Trailing ‘Roger’s Delight’ has lemon-scented leaves and large red upper petals and paler lower petals.
This plant is a lemon-scented, shrubby, upright pelargonium with pale pink flowers and crinkled leaves.
This lemon-scented, shrubby, upright pelargonium has cream-margined leaves.
This exemplary species has felted, gray, crinkled leaves. Over a long period, it exhibits sprays of butterfly-shaped, rich wine-red flowers, which contrast dramatically with the foliage. Its small stature makes it a perfect candidate for a container or a walkway edge. It has been used medicinally for the treatment of various infections, including bronchitis. It is a native of Africa.
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Use plant combinations that focus on complementary colors, textures, and forms
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