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'Goldrush' heralds the coming of fall with masses of tiny, yellow flowers for four weeks in August and September. Its compact size—about a foot tall—makes it a great candidate for a rock garden or border edge.
This species is aptly named for its distinctive crooked stems that bend back and forth at 45° angles between nodes. It bears starry, medium-yellow flowers atop 1- to 3-foot tall stems.
This is the first goldenrod to bloom, featuring bright yellow, plume-like panicles in midsummer. It has dark green leaves along reddish stems, which form a vase-shaped clump when mature.
This is one of the smallest species of goldenrod, topping out at only 4 to 6 inches high in poor soils, and 2 feet high in fertile soils. It is considered a garden-worthy species, with gray-green leaves that form clumps and languid, one-sided yellow plumes. It is tolerant of both sandy and clay soils.
This lovely goldenrod has velvety leaves that are gray-green in summer and dusky rose in autumn. It has broad, flattened clusters of rich yellow flowers, which create a striking display on stems 2 to 5 feet tall.
This species has open, tree-shaped flower clusters that radiate out like a fountain. It has given rise to S. rugosa 'Fireworks'. It can grow to 7 feet tall and blooms in mid- to late autumn.
This eye-catching cultivar has flower clusters that radiate out in all directions and resemble streaming yellow fireworks. Its form is truly unique and enchanting. It reliably provides end-of-season color in blazing shades of yellow. It grows to 5 feet tall and provides good structure in the garden all year.
This garden-worthy species has dramatic, bright yellow flowers that are arranged into erect, pointed clusters. It has deep reddish stems that grow to 3 feet tall. It blooms in late summer and early autumn.
This outstanding cultivar forms a neat, 1-foot tall groundcover. It has dense, branched panicles that splay upward and outward whimsically, resembling a mass of elegantly bunched bouquets.
This shrubby, woolly perennial is native to the warmest, dry regions of the US and Mexico. Its large, rose-like salmon-colored flowers appear in loose clusters from spring to frost. It grows to 3 feet tall and almost as wide, and can bloom nearly year-round in warm regions.
This deciduous, terrestrial orchid has linear, acute leaves 2 to 10 inches long. At summer's end, it produces sweet, vanilla-scented, 1- to 3-foot spires of white flowers that last for weeks and hold up well as cut flowers.
This mat-forming perennial has rosettes of furry, silvery-gray leaves to 4 inches long. In summer, it bears gray spikes tipped with tiny, pink-purple or violet flowers. This plant crowds out weeds. 'Silver Carpet' is a non-flowering cultivar. 'Big Ears' has 8- to 12-inch-long, grayish-white felted, mid-green leaves.
This new cultivar of a treasured favorite is as cute as a button. With leaves about the size of a dime, 'Silky Fleece' has the same great soft, silky texture and silver color as other lambs' ears, just in a smaller package, growing to about 10 inches tall and wide. Lilac-plum flower spikes rise above the foliage from mid- to late summer. Grow it as edging, in containers, or in rock gardens.
This pest-free perennial blooms best during warm months. It is strange how these small blue flowers attract butterflies more than large-blooming, showy neighbors. Blue porter weed gradually reseeds nearby for a fresh batch of new plants. Mix with other species of Stachytarpheta for a variety of leaf shapes and colors ranging from purple to coral.
This plant grows exuberantly and fills out within a season, yet reaches only 18 to 20 inches tall. It bears terminal, cornflower-like, 2- to 3-inch-wide blue flowers held on strong stems. Plants do not splay open in the middle or fall over like the species does.
Celandine poppy is an eastern U.S. native wildflower with attractive leaves and flowers. It prefers moist, shady areas and will naturalize in a site it likes. Leaves are bluish green, deeply cut, and lobed. Summer brings bright yellow, poppy flowers in small clusters. Use in a woodland, border, or rock garden. It may become weedy.
This prolific cultivar has dark green foliage and bears nodding blue flowers from mauve buds. It grows to a compact height of 18 inches tall. It may become invasive and difficult to eradicate once established.
This notably beautiful plant produces huge, elongated banana-shaped leaves, which are arfully edged in luminescent yellow. The rosette sits at 18 inches tall, and in early summer the plant bears clusters of mauve-pink bells atop stems that are 4 to 5 feet tall.
Feverfew is a short-lived, bushy perennial that has become naturalized in much of North America. It has fragrant, ferny foliage and composite white flowers with yellow centers. It is often grown as an annual. The cultivar 'Aureum' has a dwarf habit, smaller flowers, and golden aromatic foliage. Other cultivars have double flowers, yellow flowerheads, or pompom-like flowerheads.
The lacy leaves of this meadow rue look like a columbine's, hence the common and scientific names. But the leaves are actually gray-green and more delicate than its namesake. It bears clusters of long-lasting cottony flowers in shades of lilac, purple, or white in early summer. It is suitable for naturalizing in a meadow or woodland. These perennials grow to about 3 feet tall and half as wide.
Building Better Borders
Use plant combinations that focus on complementary colors, textures, and forms
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by Phil Wood
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When starting a bed, choose the method that suits you best
by Steve Carroll
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