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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.
Attractive, grass-like leaves to 18 inches long are topped by showy flowers in a wide range of colors. Flowers unfurl in May and bloom well into June. Cultivars include ‘Caesar’s Brother’, with rich purple flowers; ‘Eric the Red’, a bright violet-pink Siberian; and ‘Chilled Wine’, a garnet iris suffused with blue.
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.
This upright bushy perennial has softly hairy, mid-green lower leaves to 3 inches long and lance-shaped upper leaves to 1 inch long. White, double flowers, resembling chrysanthemums, bloom almost constantly from spring to fall. Kalimeris is closely related to Boltonia.
Beautiful variegation brightens the green and grey mottled foliage. A wide creamy-golden margin blends to the edge of the cut-leaf foliage. Its spreading branches mingle softly with its garden neighbors. Blooming in early fall, 12- to 15-inch stems produce light lavender aster-like flowers with a yellow center.
This clump-forming perennial reaches 2 to 3 feet in height and nearly as wide. Small but long-lasting wine-red pincushion-like flowers form on slender stems. The rosettes of pinnatifid basal leaves overwinter.
These tall spikes top off the perennial border with a burst of tropical-red racemes. The fine foliage makes the base of the plant equally attractive.
This rhizomatous perennial has erect or creeping stems and silvery leaves. In summer, it produces spikes of yellow flowers spotted with brown. A less invasive cultivar is 'Hermann's Pride'.
'Hermann's Pride' is small, but bold. Unlike the rampantly creeping variegated yellow lamium (Lamium galeobdolon 'Variegatum'), the lamium cultivar ‘Hermann’s Pride’ is a slow-growing, clump-forming treasure that grows like a small bush, beautiful in foliage (jagged, silvery, and green) and flower (brilliant yellow). Masses of flowers appear in late spring to early summer. While some may have trouble controlling this cultivar, it behaves meekly in harsh climates. -Sue Whetten, Regional Picks: Rocky Mountains, Fine Gardening issue #127
'Anne Greenaway' infuses the garden with excitement, with its bright chartreuse leaf margins. It grows up to 8 inches tall and 18 inches wide and is topped with lilac-mauve flowers in late spring. The stems root where they touch the soil, so it's easy to lift and transplant rooted stems to increase your stand. It makes a nice groundcover in a shady garden around ferns, hostas, heucheras, or geraniums.
Lamium is a genus with many cultivars that are outstanding foliage plants for the shade, most notably ‘White Nancy’. This evergreen ground cover’s beautiful, 1- to 2-inch-wide leaves are silvery white with green edges and have a quilted appearance. Clusters of white flowers appear from spring through summer.
‘Pink Chablis’ has pink flowers above silvery gray leaves edged with dark green. These trailing plants make fine ground covers or cascaders.
The pale pink and yellow flowers of this evergreen perennial attract butterflies from late spring to frost. Lantana camara is mostly grown as a summer annual, but can be overwintered in a cool, dark location.
This hardy lavender stands out for its unusually large, dark blue-purple flowers, silvery green foliage, and heavy fragrance. It is often used in perfumes. Growing to 30 inches tall and nearly as wide, 'Grosso' has very long flower spikes and blooms from midsummer into autumn. It is especially attractive as an edging.
'Violet Intrigue' exhibits the typical handsome gray foliage of good lavenders, but its form and flowers are particularly noteworthy. Each stem is strongly upright, and requires no staking, and the blooms are a deep violet that remains vibrant even when temperatures rise. Other than occasional deadheading, no additional maintenance chores are required.
This late-blooming perennial is a go-to for shots of crisp white and happy yellow in the fall garden.
This Shasta daisy cultivar has especially large white flowers with yellow centers held on 3- to 4-foot-tall, strong stems that don't need staking. It also blooms later than most of the other cultivars. It originated in a Southern garden, but it is very adaptable to other climates. The masses of crisp, bright blooms are a mainstay of the summer border.
One of the first plants to emerge, this 24-inch-tall bulb bears nodding white bells as early as mid-January. Blooms are faintly chocolate-scented; leaves are glossy, erect, and strap-shaped.
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
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
Enchanting Japanese Maples
Two experts pick their favorites based on color, shape
by Francie Schroeder
Q&A Moving houseplants outdoors for the summer
by Tim Pollak
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