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Sweet William catchfly's vivid dark pink flower clusters beautify the garden in late summer. It is a herbaceous perennial most often grown as an annual, as it readily propagates from seed. Native to Europe, it has escaped gardens and naturalized in eastern and central North America, as well as the Pacific Northwest.
This North American prairie native produces 2-inch-wide, brilliant cardinal-red flowers that stand out in the summer garden. The common name comes from the sticky glands below the flowers that catch small insects. The plant grows 2 to 4 feet tall and half 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 clump forming, semi-evergreen, grass-like perennial blooms in summer, with a long succession of yellow-centered blue flowers. It grows to 20 inches high and 6 inches wide, and self-sows easily.
In early summer, these grass-like perennials produce multiple spikes of small, pale yellow blooms with dark yellow centers and faint purple stripes. The flowers rise above gray-green foliage. Native to open woods, meadows, and prairies of South America, these adaptable wildflowers tolerate a wide range of conditions and naturalize easily. The summer blossoms each open for just one day with the morning sun and close at dusk. Rarely do the blooms open on cloudy days. Plants grow to 3 feet tall and 10 inches wide.
This spring bloomer produces bright chartreuse floral domes atop bract-like, rounded leaves that are pierced by the flower's stem. This plant's form and color contrast well with spring bulbs. It grows 3 feet tall and 2 feet wide. Let it regenerate itself by self-sowing. It is a biennial or short-lived perennial that makes an excellent cut flower and produces worthy combinations with neighboring shades of maroons and blues. Grow it in large, mixed borders, naturalistic plantings, and open woodlands.
In early autumn, this species produces elegant, wand-shaped flowerheads atop wiry stems with blue-green, linear leaves. It is found in open woods and along woodland edges, and prefers some shade. It responds well to rich soil, but can tolerate dry soil also.
'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 bulbous perennial has clumps of strap-shaped, mid-green leaves. Each stem, less than 1 foot tall, bears a solitary scarlet to deep crimson flower in late spring or early summer; established clumps may bloom again later in the summer.
Alliums All Season Long
Deer resistant and dynamic, these bulbs provide color from the first showers of spring to the last leaves of fall
by Stephanie Cohen
Spectacular Spring Bloomers
These perennials are the light at the end of the long, wintry tunnel
by Dave Demers
Find out what all the buzz is about by planting these colorful perennials
by Sally Roth
Enchanting Japanese Maples
Two experts pick their favorites based on color, shape
by Francie Schroeder
How to Grow Trilliums
Plant the best species for your region in fall for a spectacular display in spring
by Gene E. Bush
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