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A native of South Africa, summer hyacinth sends up spikes of lovely white flowers in late summer amidst dark green, strap-like foliage, when many other perennials are done blooming. The tall spikes are fragrant and especially dramatic planted with darker foliage or flowers.
This North American wildflower is a bushy, clump-forming, vase-shaped perennial with lance-shaped or spoon-shaped, toothed leaves on slender, wand-like stems. Leaves may be occasionally spotted with maroon. Loose panicles of 4-petaled white flowers open only a few at a time and fade slowly to pink, blooming from late spring to early autumn.
Introduced in 1940, 'Dauntless' grows to 4 feet tall and has pale pink flowers with deep pink/red throats.
This 3- to 4-foot-tall glad has luminous deep purplish-rose flowers. It dates from 1959 and is called 'Fidelio' after Beethoven's joyous opera.
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.
These branching plants with thick stems and glossy mid-green leaves grow 5 to 6 feet tall. Slightly nodding flowerheads 2.5 inches or more across appear in summer. Bright yellow ray florets are sometimes flushed with red or purple-red disk florets.
This clump-forming perennial bears striking, sunflower-like yellow blooms on long stalks from midsummer to early autumn.
'Summer Nights' has a clumping form, sturdy wine-purple stems, and bronze-tinted leaves. It bears striking deep golden-orange blooms with orange-red centers from June until August.
Daylilies are classic, extremely popular garden plants. They feature long, arching, strappy leaves and long stems of generally 6-petaled flowers, though double flowers are popular as well. Each flower lasts only one day, hence the plant’s common name. Daylilies come in a wide range of colors, from cream and cheery yellow to peach, orange, fiery red, deep burgundy, pink, and purple. Some have contrasting throats and "eye-zones." Daylilies are ideal for a mixed herbaceous perennial border.
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
Perfectly round, puckered, bright-gold leaves have a pattern resembling seersucker fabric. Pale-lavender flowers appear in early summer.
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.
Cardinal climber is a twining annual with deeply lobed mid-green leaves and 1-inch crimson blooms with white throats appearing in summer.
Tall bearded iris tolerates dappled shade, but full sun promotes maximum flowering of deep red blooms. Spring or fall is the time to deadhead and cut the foliage back. This perennial makes a wonderful backdrop to spring bulbs. ‘Rip City’ is just one of hundreds of cultivars of tall bearded iris.
An iris with foliage as showy as its flowers, 'Variegata' has bright green leaves striped with yellow and beautiful soft blue flowers with yellow beards. This bearded iris reaches four feet high and spreads indefinitely. Use to edge a border or grow at waterside.
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.
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.
Lavender-pink or white flowers up to 4 inches in diameter have purple veins and yellow throats. Sword-shaped medium green leaves can top 6 feet tall when grown in shallow water.
A vigorous grower, this plant climbs by grasping tendrils, reaching 10 feet high. It has sweet-pea-like flowers and lacy foliage composed of pairs of leaflets.
This late-blooming perennial is a go-to for shots of crisp white and happy yellow in the fall garden.
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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