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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.
Large, flat-topped flowerheads in shades of purple add soft color and texture to the summer and fall garden. The leaves are purple-tinged on thick stems with maroon spots. Butterflies love this eastern U.S. native.
Large, domed flowerheads of pink, light purple, or off-white add soft color and texture to the summer and fall garden. The leaves are purple-tinged on thick stems suffused with maroon. This eastern U.S. native attracts butterflies from mid-summer to early fall.
A profusion of golden yellow flowers appears for two to three weeks starting in early autumn. Daisy-like flowerheads are 3 inches across with 15 to 20 yellow ray florets radiating from a flat-topped purple or dark brown cone. The entire plant looks like a giant flame, drawing the attention of gardeners and many species of butterflies, bees, and other nectar feeders.
Sawtooth sunflower's abundant yellow daisy flowers bloom from late summer well into fall. The dark green, narrow leaves have a leathery gloss. A well-behaved plant, sawtooth sunflower forms a thick, slowly expanding clump. It can reach 10 feet and taller, depending on conditions.
This Japanese native is perfect for the rock garden. It is a compact species with blue-green foliage and pink stems, and bears purplish-red flowers in fall. Sedum cauticola grows to about 3 inches tall and a foot wide.
This tough, drought-tolerant species has glossy deep green leaves and, in early summer, half-inch golden yellow flowers that open from pink buds. It grows to about 6 inches tall and a little wider and makes a good groundcover.
This variety is more compact than the species, and its leaves are variegated with creamy margins. In late spring to summer, its star-shaped yellow flowers open from pink buds and mature to crimson. It grows to just 4 inches tall and 12 inches wide.
This lovely mound-like species splays out from the center like a miniature fountain. It has half-inch rosy flowers in fall and blue-green leaves with matching rosy margins. Frosty temperatures bring out pink in the leaves. Sedum sieboldii grows to 4 inches tall and about twice as wide.
This tall, sturdy prairie plant makes an imposing statement in the garden with its large, deeply cut leaves and yellow sunflower-like flowers that face east and bloom in late summer and early fall. The leaves of the compass plant can grow up to 18 inches long and are deeply incised with a shape that looks like something from a painting by Matisse. They align themselves on a north-south axis to conserve moisture by avoiding the midday sun. This plant requires a few years to enlarge and flower, but once its deep roots are anchored, it will live for many years.
A coarse but bold perennial giant for the back of the border with yellow, daisy-like flowers in summer. Cups form where the toothed leaves meet the thick stems; birds are said to drink from the water held in the cups. Tough prairie natives that will self-sow, these plants need lots of sun and lots of room—a single plant can reach 7 or 8 feet tall and 6 feet across.
This tender perennial climber has edible, hand-shaped leaves and crimson red flowers in summer and fall which are uniquely textured. Their softly squared petals are held apart from each other at the flower's mouth and the rear tapers to long spurs. The blooms yield blue fruits. Flame nasturtium climbs up to 10 feet.
'Georgia Blue' forms beautiful mats of purple-tinged leaves. In spring, this free-flowering groundcover boasts abundant iridescent blue flowers. It grows to about 9 inches high and a foot wide. It is a vigorous and easy-to-grow cultivar.
This tough, versatile plant requires little maintenance. 'Georgia Blue' is willing to grow in sunny or shady spots, puts up with excessive rain or drought conditions, and attracts butterflies with a low blanket of sky blue flowers from spring into summer. Small, dark green leaves turn glossy burgundy in winter. Use it in containers or rock walls, or as a companion groundcover to spring bulbs under trees.
This native perennial wildflower of the American Southwest bears a profusion of bright yellow to golden yellow flowers atop 4-inch high plants that spread to 15 inches wide. They bloom from late summer into fall.
Building Better Borders
Use plant combinations that focus on complementary colors, textures, and forms
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