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This hybrid heuchera has lobed, dark-green leaves and big panicles of large white flowers in late spring and early summer. It grows up to 30 inches tall and 18 inches wide. The flowers are suitable for cutting and the foliage is somewhat evergreen.
A hardy hibiscus, 'Kopper King' has leaves that are a coppery red on top and orange-red underneath. Large (10 to 12 inches across) ruffly white to pale pink flowers bloom from midsummer to mid-fall if you deadhead. 'Kopper King' dies back to the ground in autumn and is late to break dormancy in the spring. It should be interplanted with spring bulbs and overplanted with winter annuals; that way you'll get color year round without disturbing the hibiscus. -Pat McKernan, Regional Picks: Lower Plains, Fine Gardening issue #120
This perennial bamboo has dense clumps of smooth, olive-green, hollow, glossy culms, stained purple at the nodes, and linear, blue-green leaves to 6 inches long.
Perfectly round, puckered, bright-gold leaves have a pattern resembling seersucker fabric. Pale-lavender flowers appear in early summer.
'Blue Angel' makes a very large tiered mound of heavily textured blue leaves that can be as wide as 18 in. in diameter.
'Blue Shadows' is a medium-sized plant with coarse, deep blue, variegated leaves.
This upright selection reaches 24 inches tall and 44 to 48 inches wide. 'Fort Knox' has an elegant vase-shaped habit and radiant yellowish-gold leaves 10 inches long by 6 inches wide. Lavender flowers appear in midsummer.
Bold, large, shield-shaped leaves with a deep green center and creamy-white margins turn white with age. Funnel-shaped mauve flowers borne on leafy scapes 32 inches long appear in midsummer.
‘Halycon’ is a wonderful blue hosta that holds its strong leaf color all season. Its textured, blue-green leaves are thick enough to be slug resistant. Bell-shaped, pale lilac flowers are followed by seed heads that attract birds late in the season. 'Halcyon' grows fairly slowly. It can be used as either a ground cover or a specimen plant. -Jane Hutson, Regional Picks: Midwest, Fine Gardening issue# 127
A fast grower, 'Little Aurora' has cupped, puckered leaves and a metallic sheen, with soft-lavender flowers from late June into early July.
A robust, clump-forming perennial, 'Piedmont Gold' has prominently veined, wavy-margined, bright-gold leaves 10 inches long by 7 inches wide. It reaches an average height of 18 to 25 inches tall and 40 inches wide. White flowers on 26-inch stems appear in midsummer.
A botanical giant, 'Sum and Substance' averages 30 inches tall by 60 inches wide, sometimes more. Upright, heart-shaped, flat leaves have a glossy chartreuse hue that changes to gold when exposed to more light. Near-white lilac blooms borne on leaning scapes 36 inches long appear from late July through mid-August.
'Sun Power' is a clump-forming perennial with oval to heart-shaped, yellowish green leaves below funnel-shaped, pale-lavender to white flowers in midsummer.
A clump-forming perennial with flat-spreading, blue-colored leaves, Japanese rock hosta bears funnel-shaped white flowers, sometimes flushed with purple, on arching, leafy scapes 24 inches long.
'Elegans' is a large hosta with deep, smoky blue, slightly frosted heart-shaped foliage. Deep veins give the leaves a corrugated look. White flowers bloom in early spring. Though slugs love hostas, this one is usually spared. -Sue Whetten, Regional Picks: Rocky Mountains, Fine Gardening issue #127
This pretty little blue-violet iris with yellow and white falls is native to the central U.S. Its early summer flowers are somewhat hidden among the foliage, as the stems are shorter than the leaves. In the wild, it grows in damp areas. In the garden, it appreciates a moist soil, especially in hot climates. Grow it where its flowers can be seen, such as at the front of a border, in a woodland, or at waterside.
Spectacular, but fleeting, stemless blooms have blue-lilac petals, each with a white patch and a yellow or orange crest on each fall. Crested iris blooms in May. Dagger-shaped leaves 5 to 6 inches tall form an attractive, cool green carpet of stiff leaves. ‘Alba’ is a white-flowered variety.
Yellow flag is a vigorous Laevigata iris with ribbed, sword-shaped gray-green leaves. It grows to 3 to 4 feet high. Over 60 cultivars exist, including ‘Beuron’, with evenly yellow flowers; ‘Ecru’, with its off-white blooms; ‘Fresh Cream’, with lovely, pale-yellow flowers marked with red-violet signals; a variegated type, ‘Variegata’; ‘Donau’, a bright-yellow flower adorned with a brown signal that looks like stitchery; and nearly sterile ‘Holden Clough’, with deep-yellow blooms and reddish purple veining.
Attractive, grass-like leaves to 18 inches long are topped by showy flowers in a wide range of colors. Flowers unfurl in May and bloom well into June. Cultivars include ‘Caesar’s Brother’, with rich purple flowers; ‘Eric the Red’, a bright violet-pink Siberian; and ‘Chilled Wine’, a garnet iris suffused with blue.
This beardless iris is one of the tallest growing. It is available in a wide range of flower colors and blooms from late spring to mid-summer. These irises are tall like Japanese irises but have upright flowers and bloom later than the tall bearded ones.
Great Plants for a Fall Cutting Garden
Rely on colorful, long-stemmed plants to keep your vases filled as the season winds down
by Suzanne McIntire
Q&A Crafty everlasting flowers
by Suzanne McIntire
Drying Flowers in Sand
Use this technique to enjoy dried flowers year-round
by Georgia Vance
The Allure of Lavender
Intoxicating scents, wandlike flowers, and gray-green foliage ensure its enduring popularity
by Andy Van Havelingen
The Best Flowers for Your Cutting Garden
If you only grow a handful of vaseworthy flowers, these are the ones you need
by Catherine Mix
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