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A large ornamental okra with dinner-plate-sized, sulfur yellow flowers with dark eyes. Each flower lasts only a day—unfolding slowly in the morning and closing gradually in the evening—but the abundance of flowers open on any one day conceals their short life span.
This tall, upright perennial has single flowers of various colors that grow along a spike. It blooms in early summer and midsummer.
This is a vigorous grower. Its beautiful dark fruits, which arrive after the flowers, bring an abundance of birds.
A half-hardy perennial, this sophisticated climber grows to 8 feet tall. It has a profuse show of 1.5-inch indigo, violet, pink, or white flowers. It's great for the cold greenhouse or conservatory, and will often bloom until the end of the year unless there is a hard frost.
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.
A deciduous climber native to the southeastern United States, Clematis crispa bears lavender-blue, bell-shaped flowers with curly edges in summer. Its blooms are not profuse, but their elegant shape makes this plant a good choice for trellises, growing through shrubs, or planting in damp areas. The flowers are slightly fragrant and are followed by attractive seedheads. It also makes an unusual cut flower.
This species is notable in stature, forming a giant mound and producing a profusion of airy white flowers on tall stems in late spring to midsummer and then dying down in midsummer to late summer. Colewort can reach 8 feet high and about half as wide. Grow in a large border or open woodland.
This species produces very tall spires of pale pink flowers with yellow stamens atop leafless stems that puncture vertical space with unmatched elegance.
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.
This is the granddaddy of big-leaved perennials. No other plant can so thoroughly alter the scale of a garden while calling such attention to itself.
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 bold, strong-growing, woody-based perennial hibiscus has erect stems reaching up to 8 feet tall with 8-inch-wide, funnel-shaped flowers with spreading petals in shades of pink, white, or crimson.
This unusual annual vine can add vertical interest to the garden. Its vivid blossoms (red tooth-like flowers that fade to orange and then yellow and white) are a hummingbird magnet. Firecracker vine can bloom year round in warm climates, but generally blooms from summer to fall. It is a native of Mexico and Central and South America. -Julia Jones, Designing with Annuals, Fine Gardening issue #120
This annual climber has winged stems and deliciously fragrant, ruffled blossoms. Many cultivars exist with varying bloom color (solid, mixed, or bicolor), size, and climbing habit.
Sprays of long, tubular buds spark into a fiery scarlet and fade to a pale cream on this annual climbing vine. A single flower holds tints of yellow, warm pink, orange, and red as if a watercolorist had laid down colors one layer at a time. As the bud matures, the colors wash away, leaving a pale blossom pushed open at the tip by protruding anthers. From a distance, the plant seems to be covered in hundreds of brightly lit candles. This vine also produces rich, bronzy-purple new growth which ages to a lovely deep green. The heavily indented, trilobed leaves resemble a hawk's strong wings, giving the plant the look of birds in flight. The foliage stays intact and healthy until frost. The bottom of the vine sheds its leaves as the season progresses, so disguising its bare base behind lower-growing plants is a must.
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 hauntingly beautiful specimen has blue-green foliage along matte, purple-green, willowy stems. At 5 or more feet in height, it has a dramatic yet delicate garden presence. Its sprays of nodding lilac flowers have pale yellow stamens. Plant at the back of a border; it may require staking.
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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