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Though its leaves are small, this semi-deciduous shrub stands out in the landscape. Littleleaf cordia has a prolifically branching, slightly open form that looks good year-round. Its roughly textured, dark gray-green foliage contrasts nicely with its coppery brown young stems. From late spring into fall, branch tips bear clusters of pristine, white, funnel-shaped flowers to provide a visually cooling effect during the peak of summer heat. It grows to 6 to 8 feet tall and wide.
This erect shrub grows to 10 feet high and wide and produces many small, tubular, pendent flowers in shades of red, pink, and sometimes white. Flowers are followed by reddish purple fruits. Native to Chile and Argentina, Fuchsia magellanica is hardy in Zones 6-9 and adds bright colors and a tropical feeling to the garden. Use as a specimen or in a bed or border.
Through the fall and into winter, pincushion hakea provides beautiful cut flowers for the holidays; the foliage and seedpods are also great for arrangements. You can prune it into a bushy shape or a slender, small tree. As a member of the Protea family, pincushion hakea does not like phosphorus fertilizer, and like most Australian plants, it prefers to be well mulched so that its specialized roots can extract nutrients from the mulch layer.
There are few better winter displays than the blossoms of 'Pallida' witch hazel. Bright green leaves line its flaring branches in spring and summer. After a display of yellow fall color, the plant shows its distinctive branch structure. Around the end of December, clusters of buds begin to open into spidery, pale yellow flowers. These cover the branches until early March, giving off a rich, fruity perfume. This small tree or large shrub grows up to 12 feet tall and wide.
'Diana' has deep green foliage and large, pure white flowers that bloom from mid- to late summer. Unlike some other roses of Sharon, its flowers remain open at night. It requires little maintenance and, once established, will tolerate extreme heat, drought, and poor soil. -Judith Ireland, Regional Reports: Northeast, Fine Gardening issue #122
Oakleaf hydrangeas originated along the sandy streams of the southeastern United States, and they are more drought tolerant than many other hydrangeas. Their matte green leaves are coarsely textured and deeply lobed, and in fall they turn red and purple. White flower heads form in spring, and as summer draws to a close they turn shades of pink, green, and ecru. -Nellie Neal, Regional Picks: Southeast, Fine Gardening issue #127
Dime-sized, drooping, bell-shaped yellow flowers have a faint anise fragrance, but they’re hidden under new foliage in June.
This stunning hybrid has deep burgundy tulip-shaped flowers that appear in early spring before its 4- to 6-inch-long leaves unfurl. It makes an excellent small specimen tree, growing to 20 feet tall. It can be topped to form a hedge, and works well in large containers.
Leatherleaf mahonia is a thick shrub with a formal feel. Its stiff, green-blue foliage looks something like holly foliage, and in spring, airy clusters of tiny, golden yellow flowers appear. These are followed in fall by inky blue berries. Consider this plant for a a mixed-shrub foundation planting, or use it as a hedge plant. -Nellie Neal, Regional Picks: Southeast, Fine Gardening issue #127
A Michelia hybrid, bred in New Zealand by Mark Jury, with beautiful lightly fragrant flowers blushed lilac pink and evergreen dark green foliage. It is ideal as a specimen shrub or as a hedge.
The white of this rose has a purity of color that is without equal. It produces semi-double, very fragrant flowers from spring to fall, which are sometimes followed by orange hips. It grows to 6 feet high and wide.
This fragrant rose blooms nonstop from June until frost, with vivid pink, semidouble blossoms. It grows 6 to 8 feet high, making it ideal for training up walls, pillars, or other structures.
This fragrant rose produces semi-double, medium-pink flowers occuring in large clusters. It grows 5 feet tall and up to 8 feet wide, making it ideal for training up a wall, arch, or trellis. It blooms from spring to autumn.
This profuse bloomer produces enormous sprays of small, single pink blooms with white centers and dark reddish-pink edges. While it lacks fragrance, it is disease free, and if left alone, produces orange hips. It grows 5 feet tall and up to 8 feet wide, making it ideal for training up a wall, arch, or trellis. It blooms from spring to autumn.
This David Austin rose produces vibrant, semi-double red blossoms with contrasting yellow stamens all season long. It grows from 2.5 to 5 feet tall.
This rose produces brilliant hot pink blossoms at the tips of wide, arching branches. It forms a loosely branched shrub, reaching 6 feet high and 10 feet wide, and blooms from spring to autumn. It is ideal as a low climber up a wall, arch, or trellis.
Blackhaw Viburnum is a large shrub or small tree with clusters of creamy white flowers followed by pink-rose berries, which birds love to eat. Its distinctive bronze-green foliage on reddish purple stems turns blue-black in the fall. Blackhaw grows to 12 to 15 feet high and 8 to12 feet wide.
Experts Pick Their Favorite Plants
We asked 42 gardening experts from around the country to select their favorite plants. Now you can see the complete results of the survey.
A guide to growing, care, and propagation of rex begonias, plus some great cultivars
by Rita Randolph
Heirloom dahlias, gladioli, and cannas offer flower colors and forms unmatched by more recent introductions
by Scott Kunst
Flowering Paperwhites for Winter Windowsills
These easy-to-force bulbs have superior blossoms and scents
by Brent Heath
10 Outstanding Succulents
Skip the finicky selections and go for these unique yet reliable beauties
by Maureen Gilmer
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