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This biennial or short-lived perennial is grown for its massive, downy-silver rosettes of foliage. In its second year, it spawns plumes of white or pinkish flowers with gray calyces in mid- to late summer. The plant has a spiky form, 3 feet tall by 2 feet wide. Locate it where the rosettes can be easily seen.
This native of Texas and Mexico has a woody base and can form a dwarf, evergreen shrub, 1 foot tall by 1 foot wide. It has small, leathery leaves and bears bright flowers in shades of pink, purple, or yellow from early summer to frost.
This sage is eye-catching in and out of bloom, with its attractive basal rosette of feathery foliage and showy display of dense flower spikes. The flowers come in shades of blue, white, and light pink, but the dark blue strain (S. jurisicii 'Blue') is the most desirable. Best planted in enriched garden loam, Yugoslavian cutleaf sage blooms in late spring.
This drought-tolerant perennial produces flower spikes in shades of violet, purple, or white to pink, with purple bracts. It blooms from early summer to autumn; reblooming is most reliable if spent flowers are promptly deadheaded. It has wrinkled leaves and forms an erect clump 3 feet tall by 2 feet wide. This species is most noted for its many S. sylvestris hybrids.
This woody-stemmed perennial produces sticky spikes of deep violet or, rarely, white to pink flowers. It blooms from early summer to autumn; reblooming is most reliable if spent flowers are deadheaded promptly. It has wrinkled leaves and forms an upright clump 3 feet tall by 1 foot wide. This salvia is most noted for its many hybirds with S. nemerosa.
This plant is as dependable and adaptable as they come. Its flowers bloom from August into November; they open pink and mature to a copper befitting of autumn. It is 2 feet tall and wide, with succulent stems and leaves. 'Autumn Joy' looks great with ornamental grasses.
In summer to late summer, this low-growing Sedum has rosy-red flowers atop small, fleshy blue-green leaves with ruddy highlights. Plants grow 8-12 inches tall and 18 inches wide.
This lovely mound-like species splays out from the center like a miniature fountain. It has half-inch rosy flowers in fall and blue-green leaves with matching rosy margins. Frosty temperatures bring out pink in the leaves. Sedum sieboldii grows to 4 inches tall and about twice as wide.
An upright species to 18 inches tall and wide, this plant bears pink flowers in August that persist into fall. Thick, almost succulent leaves are bluish green. S. spectabile was crossed with S. telephium to create the very popular 'Autumn Joy.'
This choice cultivar boasts domed clusters of starry, pale-pink flowers with dark-tipped stamens. The foliage is medium blue-green, overlaid by tints of burgundy and stormy gray. The rich red stems reach up to 3 feet tall.
'Purple Heart' is a trailing, tender perennial with purple stems and violet-purple leaves that produces pink flowers in summer. This plant is mainly grown for its foliage (leaves can reach 7 inches in length); best color is achieved in bright sunlight and a dry, cramped root zone. It is excellent as a groundcover or in containers or hanging baskets. It grows 8-12 inches tall and 16 inches wide.
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 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 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.
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.
From mid-summer to early autumn, this Thalictrum species has clusters of large, fluffy-looking flowers with lilac to white petals and pale yellow stamens atop wiry, purple-tinted stems and delicately textured foliage. Plants grow to 4 feet tall and half as wide.
This cultivar has some of the showiest flowers of the meadow rues. From mid-summer to early autumn, it bears tight, pompom-like clusters of lilac-mauve sepals atop wiry, purple tinted stems and delicately textured foliage. Plant toward the back of a border; it may require staking.
This beautiful specimen has tall, delicate stems punctuated by clusters of columbine-like, bluish gray leaves. In summer, it bears sprays of nodding lavender-pink or white flowers with pale yellow stamens that reach as high as 3 feet. Plants grow to 12 inches wide. Plant at the back of a border; it may require staking.
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
Building Better Borders
Use plant combinations that focus on complementary colors, textures, and forms
Find out what all the buzz is about by planting these colorful perennials
by Sally Roth
10 Shrubs for Summer Color
These vibrant bloomers give even the showiest annuals and perennials a run for their money
by Paul Cappiello
PLANTING PLAN: A deer-resistant bed that shines in fall and winter
by Nancy Matthews
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