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This deciduous, rounded shrub grows to 15 feet tall with maple-like, lobed, dark green leaves that turn shades of red, yellow, and purple in autumn. White flowers resembling lace-cap hydrangeas bloom in spring and are followed by abundant red fruit loved by birds. Grow in a woodland garden or border, or as a wildlife plant.
This low-key, trustworthy shrub is perfect for the back of the border, where its dense form will create a nice backdrop for showier summer plants. Come fall, however, it stands out with deep burgundy foliage and large, bright red berries. Birds don't like the fruit, so the berries often persist well into winter. 'Bailey Compact' is a dwarf version of this normally 20-foot-tall shrub.
A deciduous shrub, wiegela has gracefully arching branches studded with pink tubular flowers. Dwarf, medium, and tall cultivars are now available for the front, middle, or back of the border: 'Midnight Wine' has dark burgundy foliage and pink flowers; 2- to 3-foot-tall and wide 'Minuet' has purplish-green foliage and magenta-rose and pale purple flowers; and 'Dark Horse' has dark burgundy foliage and deep pink flowers. Many other garden-worthy cultivars are available.
This dramatic architectural plant is one of the most beautiful variegated yuccas on the market. Its sword-shaped leaves bear bold central stripes of bright canary-yellow against a rich celadon edge. In cool weather, margins are tinged pink, and the entire yellow stripe turns rose-colored on many of the leaves, lasting through early spring. Plants grow to 2 feet wide and nearly as tall. Branched clusters of nodding, creamy-white bells open in mid-summer on stout stems that reach 6 feet tall.
This easy to grow evergreen yucca bears dramatic, sword-shaped yellow leaves with a dark green edge. Not as staunchly upright as some yuccas, its leaf tips sometimes droop with age. Its foliage color is best from fall to spring. Plants grow to nearly 2 feet in height and 3 feet in width. In summer, it produces a 6-foot-tall spike covered with nodding, fragrant, white bell-shaped flowers.
This clumping evergreen shrub with narrow leaves produces a startling, 3- to 4-foot-tall flower stalk. The fragrant flowers are pale green or greenish white. It is a tenacious weed in areas of the American West, but adds a touch of the desert to gardens. Soap can be made from its roots and the foliage is used in basket-making.
This sculptural plant bears sword-like leaves to 24 inches long in shades of blue- or gray-green and maturing to dark green, with smooth margins. In summer, the plant produces 8-foot spikes of nodding, bell-shaped, fragrant white flowers, sometimes tinged purple, to 2 inches long.
Appropriately named, this open shrub has grayish green leaves and stiff, thorn-tipped branches. With inconspicuous, pale yellow-green flowers in late spring, the pea-size fruits that follow are a showy blue-black. These fruits appeal to birds, and the thorny branches are ideal protection for nesting. Graythorn is a fine backdrop for bold plantings of succulents.
Building Better Borders
Use plant combinations that focus on complementary colors, textures, and forms
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