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Butterfly bushes are carefree deciduous shrubs that are reliably fragrant and easy to grow. Butterflies swarm to their blooms all summer long. 'Lochinch' has extremely fragrant lilac-blue flowers with orange eyes. It is a cross between B. davidii and B. fallowiana. Its arching, mounded habit typically reaches 3 to 5 feet in one season, but can grow much taller in the deep South. The 8- to 12-inch-long flower spikes begin in late summer and bloom until frost, starting a little later than the B. davidii cultivars.
Butterfly bushes are carefree deciduous shrubs that are reliably fragrant and easy to grow. Butterflies swarm to their blooms all summer long. 'Black Knight' has deep purple-blue, almost black, flowers in elongated clusters on arching branches to 10 feet tall if not cut back, and half that size if cut back. The blooms come from early summer to first frost. The foliage is willow-like and grayish green.
'Spring Torch' gets its name from the vibrant color of its new growth in spring. The mid-green leaves are tipped in shades of cream, orange, and red. Later in the summer, mauve-pink flower spikes cover the plant and last into the fall. As cold weather sets in, leaves acquire bronze or purple tones, adding further interest. This small, mounding evergreen shrub makes a good groundcover or rock garden plant. Bees love it. Different cultivars are beautiful woven together in the garden to form a colorful tapestry.
Like other cultivars of this genus, 'Courtasol' is as tough as nails. The biggest difference from the rest, however, lies in its form. The stems reach to only 18 inches tall before arching down to the ground and running along to yield a 5-foot-wide spread. Its grapefruit yellow flowers appear in early spring.
Striking, extra-large yellow blooms cover each stem from base to tip in early spring.
Its blaze of yellow flowers is surely one of the first harbingers of spring. Forsythia are widely recognized for their utility in a shrub border, a bank, or for hedging, and their light to deep yellow, four-petaled flowers.
Creamy, six-inch flower heads form flattened spheres above heart-shaped leaves from June through frost.
Exceptional and enormous creamy flowerheads up to one foot across form billowy, flattened spheres that withstand the rain well. Leaves are large and downy.
Hydrangea arborescens is a southeastern U.S. native shrub with a rounded habit to 5 feet tall and domes of creamy white flowers over a long period beginning in early summer. The cultivar 'Grandiflora' has larger, showier flowerheads than the species. They grow to 6 to 8 inches across.
This is one of the most widely recognized species of hydrangeas. It boasts a plentiful number of cultivars. The species is divided into two groups: the Hortensias (or "mopheads") have globe-shaped flowers made up of large male flowers, and the Lacecaps have flattened flower heads, with central, female blossoms ringed in larger, male blossoms.
This compact shrub bears attractive deep green leaves and large, rounded flower heads of deep pink in neutral soil, and intense violet-blue in acidic soil.
This re-blooming mophead features inflorescences ranging 4-6 inches wide. Their color will be pink or blue depending on aluminum availability in soil. Compact habit with glossy dark green leaves.
This is a well-loved and vigorous cultivar with large, rounded flower heads of a rich, gorgeous blue.
'Pia' is a dwarf Hortensia (or "mophead"), with globe-shaped flower heads made up of deep rose, 4-inch-wide flowers.
This plant produces gracefully arching branches and pyramidal clusters of white, then pink-tinged to dusky purple blossoms.
Large, sometimes giant white flower heads reaching 6 to 18 inches long turn pinkish with age. 'Grandiflora' is a fast-growing shrub that can reach 25 feet tall. Hydrangea paniculata is one of the most cold-hardy species. It may be grown as a single-stemmed tree specimen or as a multi-stemmed shrub.
This variety of the popular panicle hydrangea boasts very large, lime green blooms in mid-summer that turn pink in fall. A deciduous shrub, it grows to 8 feet tall and 6 feet wide with large, mid-green leaves. The blooms make good cut and/or dried flowers, but can be left on the plant for winter interest.
'Tardiva' is a late-flowering (early to late autumn) cultivar with loosely-packed, sharply pointed white flower heads that turn purplish-pink with age. It is a vigorous, fast growing deciduous shrub that reaches 8 to 12 feet tall.
'Unique' bears 8-inch-long white flower heads that fade to pinkish white. It is similar to, but more vigorous than, Hydrangea paniculata 'Grandiflora'. The cultivar name refers to the shape of the flower heads; they are broad at the base and rounded at the tip.
Oakleaf hydrangeas are already one of my favorite shrubs: They are tough and reliable; have great foliage, flowers, and fall color; and provide stems of dried flowers in winter. Just when I thought they could not get any better, chartreuse-foliaged ‘Little Honey’ came along. Creamy white flowers appear in summer, then dry on the plant for months of show. ‘Little Honey’ rarely requires pruning, besides some thinning or shaping. To brighten the shade even more, plant hot pink or orange flowers and bright purple-foliaged tropicals nearby. -Irvin Etienne, Fine Gardening #147 (October 2012), page 72
Great Plants for a Fall Cutting Garden
Rely on colorful, long-stemmed plants to keep your vases filled as the season winds down
by Suzanne McIntire
Q&A Crafty everlasting flowers
by Suzanne McIntire
Drying Flowers in Sand
Use this technique to enjoy dried flowers year-round
by Georgia Vance
The Allure of Lavender
Intoxicating scents, wandlike flowers, and gray-green foliage ensure its enduring popularity
by Andy Van Havelingen
The Best Flowers for Your Cutting Garden
If you only grow a handful of vaseworthy flowers, these are the ones you need
by Catherine Mix
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