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Allium 'Globemaster' is a true showstopper, growing to about 32 inches tall. Very large, majestic purple spheres up to 8 inches across bear numerous star-shaped, deep lilac flowers in May and June.
This plant produces dense clusters of bright blue flowerheads up to 1 inch wide. Its leaves clasp its stem and die back before flowering.
For long-lasting bright yellow flowers that sparkle in midsummer, try Allium moly. It is robust, hardy, and an excellent cut flower, naturalizing and increasing happily in the sun in most garden soils. The cultivar 'Jeannine' flowers earlier and produces larger umbels on sturdier stems.
This plant has thin, strap-like foliage that tends to twist. It produces up to 30 long-lasting, 12- to 40-inch-tall pink or lilac flowers in mid- to late summer.
This plant's silver-blue leaves swirl like a cowlick. It produces flowers that are lollipop-shaped, pink with bright yellow accents and about 16 inches tall.
The drumstick allium has egg-shaped flowers in summer that start off green, then bloom and develop to pink and then clover red-purple. These plants are attractive in a bed or border, especially peeking up through other plants, such as roses, so that their nondescript foliage is hidden. Their vertical presence and eye-catching flower shape are valuable additions to the garden, and they naturalize freely.
This multi-stemmed shrub or tree can reach almost 20 feet tall. At one time, it was used medicinally for many conditions. Its autumn color is bright red or yellow and its small, edible black fruits attract much wildlife.
A compact shrub form of serviceberry, 'Regent' produces finely toothed, rounded leaves that are bluish on top and gray-green on the bottom. In fall, they change to vibrant yellow and red. Spring finds the shrub sporting white flowers in upright clusters that give way to fruit in June. Birds as well as humans appreciate the tasty berries, which make great jellies and jams and are more abundant in full sun. This plant is native to the Great Plains and tolerates harsh, dry, or alkaline conditions when mature.
The textural quality of this eastern native's stems and foliage is superb. During winter, a circle of the thorn-covered stems is as magical as an outdoor sculpture. Dark blue-green compound leaves offer a tropical effect before turning yellow and purple in autumn. One-foot-wide flower clusters sit atop the foliage in summer and transform into purple-black fruits that attract birds. Aralia spinosa grows to 30 feet tall and spreads indefinitely.
This is a fine plant for cascading over the edge of a wall. It's a hardy, prostrate shrub with intricate branching that often forms mats up to 3 feet wide, by runners. Fragrant, white bell-shaped flowers tinged with pink are borne in May and followed later in the season by red berries. The common bearberry's stunning red stems are studded with small, glossy, evergreen leaves.
Fragrant white flowers in spring, red fall foliage, and persistent berries for winter interest make Aronia a valuable plant in all seasons.
Black chokeberry is a medium-size shrub with multiple seasons of interest. Starting with showy clusters of white flowers in early summer, followed by dark purple fruits greatly appreciated by robins, this adaptable shrub closes the growing season with beautiful, wine red fall foliage. Black chokeberry is most effective when massed in the landscape and allowed to follow its natural tendency to spread by suckering.
Spikes of violet, star-shaped flowers top stems reaching from 2 to 4 feet in late spring. The species is native to western Oregon. 'Blue Danube' would be beautiful in a border, meadow, or containers. Camassia make good cut flowers.
Mountain sweet is a low-growing, broad, compact, deciduous shrub. Dark-green leaves are irregularly toothed, 2 to 3 inches long, and softly hairy or nearly hairless beneath. This plant bears profuse white flowers in 1- to 2-inch-long terminal clusters.
A native small tree found in wetlands from Minnesota to Florida and from New England to California, buttonbush can reach 8 to 15 feet tall and is often wider than it is tall. Prune it into a small multi-trunked tree to reveal the curly bark of its young stems and the punctuated pale spots of its older stems. Blooms are extremely rich in nectar and attract butterflies and other insects.
This North American native is unrivaled in beauty for its pendulous and diaphanous clusters of fragrant white blossoms, which appear in May or June. The individual blossoms are made up of four petals that dangle from threadlike stems in great silken clusters. The leaves are late to emerge in the spring, and this species flowers before leafing out. Female specimens produce blue-black fruits in autumn.
This vigorous climber can easily cover a support of 8 to 10 feet tall once established. Finely textured, dense light-green foliage makes an excellent foil for dainty, pink and carmine teardrop-shaped flowers 2 inches across. Blooms appear in early August and continue well into autumn.
This upright, suckering shrub has fragrant, white or pink terminal flower spikes in late summer. The blooms look like bottle brushes and attract butterflies and bees. Leaves turn a pleasant yellow in autumn.
This upright, suckering shrub bears creamy white, deliciously spicy clove-scented flowers in dense, upright spikes that last four to six weeks in July and August. It is more compact than the species. Flowers mature to spikes of dark brown capsules that provide winter interest. Its oval, glossy dark green leaves turn a pleasant yellow in autumn.
Very fragrant, light pink bottlebrush flowers grace this native shrub in late summer and early fall, attracting butterflies and other insects and perfuming the garden for weeks. Plant it in beds or borders, in a woodland or shade garden, or at waterside. It also has nice fall color.
This summersweet is a sport of C. alnifolia 'Pink Spires'. Its fragrant, bottlebrush flowers are a darker pink; they attract butterflies, bees, and other insects in late summer and early fall. 'Ruby Spice' grows to about 4 to 6 feet tall and almost as wide, making this shrub suitable for a bed or border, a woodland or shade garden, or a waterside planting. Its yellow fall color extends the season of interest.
‘Sixteen Candles’ summersweet is a newer cultivar of a popular native shrub. This compact selection reaches 3 to 5 feet tall. In summer, ‘Sixteen Candles’ is topped with aromatic, erect, butterfly-enticing white blooms for 4 to 6 weeks. In fall, the leaves turn an attractive yellow.
This vigorous deciduous shrub provides a long season of interest in the garden with its variegated leaves, attractive berries, pretty fall color, and red winter stems.
These showy shrubs have two distinct phases of garden interest. In winter, they display boldly colorful bark—red, yellow, or orange—on twiggy stems to make a striking scene. In spring, the stems lose their vivid color and produce bright green, gold, or variegated foliage that accents the garden through the fall. Twig and leaf color vary according to the cultivar.
A spreading subshrub, Cornus canadensis has whorls of leathery mid-green leaves that turn purple in the winter. Green and white, sometimes pink-flushed flowers emerge in late spring and early summer, followed by clusters of scarlet berries.
This dogwood can be classified as either a deciduous shrub or small tree. Appealing creamy white flowers appear in late spring and become attractive clusters of milky white fruit in fall. The first cold front often turns the leaves a dark burgundy, and the winter stem tips have a glossy mahogany hue.
This native shrub dogwood is more compact than the species with semiglossy, emerald green foliage and showy, white fruit. Purple fall leaf color and rosy pink pedicels make this gray dogwood a fine choice for the woodland edge. Its silvery gray bark in winter adds interest into another season. White flowers in the spring add to the list of what it offers. Plant this dogwood in the landscape where it will be seen in the fall and winter. It rarely suckers.
Red osier dogwood is a deciduous shrub with a rounded, spreading form. Opposite leaves with rounded bases are ovate to lance-shaped and dark green, turning a dull red, purple-red, or orange in autumn. Clusters of white flowers appear in late May to early June, followed by white to pale blue fruit. Green stems turn reddish or purple-red from late summer into early fall, becoming brighter in winter.
This bushy shrub or small tree has generated many notable cultivars, all of which add great textural qualities to the landscape. It has 6-inch-long frothy plumes that appear after the flowers and give a long-lasting, smoky haze to branch tips. Its green leaves are smooth and rounded and produce brilliant fall color.
This specimen is grown for its stunning golden leaves, which turn to brilliant shades of orange and red in autumn. It may or may not produce the smoke-like plumes typical of the genus.
This deciduous shrub has a spreading habit and branches that form a herringbone pattern. Its glossy, dark green leaves turn red in autumn.White flowers tinged with pink appear in late spring and mature to bright red, round fruit.
Dutch crocus is one of the hardiest, if not the hardiest, crocus species readily available to home gardeners. A true harbinger of spring, it can be planted in borders, rock gardens, and even lawns. After flowering, the foliage must be left intact until it withers, which may cause lawn-mower anxiety in some gardeners. Often sold as "mixed crocus," cultivars of this species are typically white, lilac, or purple and white striped.
This celebrated hybrid is notable for its green leaves with golden-yellow margins that fade to cream. Its deep-pink buds open to pale, pink-white blossoms in early spring and give off a sweet fragrance.
While not a true honeysuckle (Lonicera spp. and cvs., USDA Hardiness Zones 3-10), Northern bush honeysuckle has honeysuckle-like yellow flowers and glossy green foliage on a native, deciduous shrub 3 to 4 feet tall and 3 to 5 feet wide. The flowers appear in early summer and last through summer, and the foliage occasionally exhibits bright red fall color.
Southern bush honeysuckle has an attractive thicket-forming habit. Glossy green leaves with tapered tips emerge tinged with bronze and mature to mid-green on reddish stems. Sulfur-yellow flowers in terminal clusters to 3 inches across appear in summer.
Autumn olive is a vigorous, deciduous shrub with pale yellow-white bell-shaped flowers to a half-inch long borne in late spring and early summer. Its silvery fruit turns red in fall and attracts birds. Wavy-margined leaves are silvery when they emerge and mature to bright green above.
A member of the conifer clan, Ephedra equisetina is commonly called bluestem joint fir due to its finely textured blue stems. In spring, it features a conspicuous froth of yellow blooms that are often followed by red berries. It is perfect for naturalized areas since it reliably spreads.
The familiar burning bush is a dense, flat-topped, deciduous shrub with a rounded, horizontal branching habit. Reddish purple fruit grows beneath the simple, finely toothed, dark green leaves. Foliage turns an extremely showy bright red in autumn. Smaller cultivars exist.
Because it is a relative of the immensely popular burning bush (E. alatus), it isn't surprising that eastern wahoo has great fall color. This North American native grows as a small tree in the southern part of its range and as a large shrub on the Plains. The bright red of its fall foliage is amplified and extended by abundant clusters of scarlet fruits that persist after the leaves have fallen, providing color even into midwinter. Eastern wahoo is effective as an accent plant or when massed wherever a bold, surprising splash of color is desired.
A member of the rose family (Rosaceae), Apache plume has single, white, rose-like flowers in a fine-textured shrub up to 5 feet tall and 8 feet wide. Flowering occurs from late spring until late summer, and is followed by clouds of showy, pink, feater-duster-like seed heads that are just as showy as the flowers.
This perennial shrub or small tree has an upright form that reaches heights of up to 10 feet. It blooms before grayish-green foliage emerges. Leaves mature to bright green and contrast beautifully with one-year-old black bark. Small, attractive black berries appear in autumn.
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.
Fragrant, cylindrical inflorescences are made up of long, white filaments, and open before the leaves in spring. In autumn, the foliage shades range from blood red to blazing yellow, and every shade in between.
This cultivar of a favorite fall shrub has the same great spring flowers as the rest of the species. But its brilliant fall color remains longer and later than its cousins, holding its strong orange, red, and yellow tones into late November or even early December. 'Jane Platt' also features a mounding habit rather than the upright habit common to the species. Fothergillas are often recommended for shade, but this one is tough enough to be grown between rocks in hot, full sun.
The giant snowdrop has larger flowers and broader leaves than the more common G. nivalis, but grows to the same 4 inches tall and wide. Its white, nodding blooms appear in late winter, signalling spring around the corner.
Snowdrops are some of the earliest bulbs, and flowers in general, to bloom in spring. Galanthus nivalis is the most common species, and its cultivars are the most commonly grown snowdrops on the market. They are reliably hardy and perennial. They grow to 4 inches tall and wide and flower in mid- to late winter, long before most other plants. They are the first sign of spring around the corner. Flowers are nodding and white.
This creeping, rhizomatous shrublet grows to 6 inches, with scalloped or bristly toothed, glossy, dark green leaves. Foliage has a strong wintergreen scent when crushed. Urn-shaped white or pale pink flowers appear in summer and mature to aromatic scarlet fruit that often persists into the following spring.
The native common witch hazel is an understory plant that becomes leggy if it has to reach for light, but in the open, it develops into a graceful, spreading shrub about 20 feet tall. Its broad leaves turn a clear, bright yellow in the autumn. The abundance of pale yellow fall flowers that accompanies the foliage comes as a wonderful late-season surprise. The deceptively fragile-looking blossoms that appear near the end of October seem to keep winter at bay for weeks.
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.
It's the pink 'Annabelle' hydrangea! Invincibelle Spirit is as hardy and adaptable as 'Annabelle' but produces loads of hot pink flowers from early summer to frost. It's a reliable bloomer in the north and is also heat tolerant. -Proven Winners
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 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.
Tall bearded iris tolerates dappled shade, but full sun promotes maximum flowering of deep red blooms. Spring or fall is the time to deadhead and cut the foliage back. This perennial makes a wonderful backdrop to spring bulbs. ‘Rip City’ is just one of hundreds of cultivars of tall bearded iris.
This beardless, crestless iris produces blooms in midspring that are the color of terra cotta. Quick growing, with long, swordlike foliage, this plant attracts butterflies and hummingbirds, and works well in beds and borders.
This evergreen shrub has a low, spreading habit and attractive, two-toned foliage. The pendulous foliage tips are frosted with gold on the upper surface and blue-green foliage on the underside. 'Daub's Frosted' reaches 15 inches tall by 5 feet wide at maturity. Dark purple fruit becomes paler later.
This evergreen shrub has rich, bright-green fine-textured foliage in summer. The compact habit is fountain-like, as its branches arch at a 60° angle out from its base. Reaches a mature size of 4 to 5 feet tall and 6 to 8 feet wide.
This is a slow-growing evergreen shrub with a formal appearance, with its narrow, columnar form and outstanding gray-green foliage. It grows to 15 feet tall and 10 feet wide at maturity. Its growth remains dense as it matures. Silvery-blue, waxy berries are highly decorative.
'Shoosmith' is an evergreen shrub with a broad spreading habit, reaching 6 feet tall and 4 feet wide at maturity. Light-green juvenile foliage and rich dark-green adult foliage on the same plant creates a two-toned effect.
This creeping shrub has a prostrate form and dense, steely blue foliage. The mature height is 1 foot tall. Scale-like green leaves turn a dull purple in winter. Blue rug juniper creates a flat ground cover. It grows 6 to 12 inches per year and bears ovoid dark blue fruit.
This spreading, low-growing shrub has attractive bluish-green foliage and unusual upturned branches that create the appearance of a miniature blue forest. The mature size is 10 inches tall, with a spread that can reach 4 feet wide.
'Blue Star' jumiper is a slow-growing, compact, evergreen shrub with a mounding shape. Its silver blue foliage is attractive in all seasons, and its blue, berry-like, female cones each contain one seed, hence its common name.
'Holger' is a prostrate shrub with a semi-spreading form and narrow pointed leaves. Young growth emerges a soft sulfur-yellow, contrasting with steel-blue mature leaves. This plant bears glossy black fruit.
This plant is a double-flowered cultivar of a suckering shrub from China and Japan. 'Pleniflora' is a very vigorous grower and bears large, fluffy yellow flowers in spring. It is slightly less hardy than the species. Leaves are sharply toothed and bright green. Grow in a shrub border or an open woodland area.
Anyone who has grown beautybush knows that it puts on a spectacular pink flower display in late spring and then it goes incognito the rest of the year. This new beautybush, however, commonly known as Dream Catcher™, dazzles the eye with unforgettable, golden yellow foliage that turns to a striking golden orange in fall.
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.
Often used by florists and for weddings, 'Casa Blanca' lily has large, pure white, scented flowers.
The first true double-flowering Oriental lily, this plant has delicate pinkish white blooms that open in July and August. They are as stunning in the mixed border as they are in the vase. Each bloom has 18 beautiful petals, making it unique among Oriental lilies.
Often used by florists, 'Star Gazer' lily has bright crimson flowers with purple spots and dark edges. These lilies grow to about 3 feet tall, so they generally don't need staking.
The brilliant blooms of these hybrid lilies boast the fragrance of Oriental lilies and the vitality and large size of trumpet lilies but with “hybrid vigor”—more strength and disease resistance and a higher tolerance of extreme cold as well as hot and humid conditions than their parents. Plants can reach a height of up to 8 feet and are covered with an abundance of blooms from July to mid-August, when many lilies have already faded. Scores of hybrids are available with varying blooming time, fragrance, form, and color, including 'Anastasia', 'Catherine the Great', 'Scheherazade', and the ever-popular 'Leslie Woodriff'.
This dioecious shrub has much to offer the garden. Male plants have showier, tiny, pale yellow flowers in early spring, but the female counterparts take center stage in early fall, when they're laden with half-inch-diameter berries that turn from green to yellow to high-gloss crimson. About the same time, the leaves turn a hypnotic soft yellow and make the red berries visually pop. Spicebush becomes a large, 5- to 8-foot-tall shrub that is slightly wider than tall. It is the preferred food for the black and blue spicebush swallowtail butterfly larvae.
A native perennial shrub that grows to about 2 feet tall and wide and covers itself the whole season with honey-scented, white and yellow daisy flowers. The foliage is typical of the aster family. Plant en masse in a well-drained border or use in a rock garden. Blackfoot daisy can be short-lived.
Grape hyacinths are hardy, easy to grow, and have long-lasting blooms--no garden should be without them. They are particularly spectacular when allowed to naturalize, whether under trees, along a pathway, tucked into ground covers, or in a bed.
These double-flowered grape hyacinths are a good candidate for beds and borders because they increase only by division. They also bloom longer than those that hasten through spring eager to set seed. April-flowering 'Blue Spike' has the largest inflorescence of the species, with fully double flax-blue fluffy heads (each pedicel carries multiple individual flowers instead of one) and narrow, linear leaves.
These double-flowered grape hyacinths are a good candidate for beds and borders because they increase only by division. They also bloom longer than those that hasten through spring eager to set seed. 'Fantasy Creation', a sport of 'Blue Spike', has a large pyramidal raceme resembling broccoli. Its blue flowers gradually turn purple, then green, fading toward yellow. It doesn't wilt and rarely sets seed, making it useful for dried flower arrangements.
Grape hyacinths are hardy, easy to grow, and have long-lasting blooms--no garden should be without them. 'Saffier' is a good candidate for beds and borders because it increases only by division. Its strong, rigid flower stalks start celery-green and mature to robust medium-blue blossoms with distinct pale-green lips at the mouth of each floret. The constricted openings prevent access to pollinating insects, resulting in blooms that last a full month and making them excellent cut flowers.
Grape hyacinths are hardy, easy to grow, and have long-lasting blooms--no garden should be without them. They are particularly spectacular when allowed to naturalize, whether under trees, along a pathway, tucked into ground covers, or in a bed. 'Blue Magic' has a true-blue hue and is great for forcing.
Grape hyacinths are hardy, easy to grow, and have long-lasting blooms--no garden should be without them. They are particularly spectacular when allowed to naturalize, whether under trees, along a pathway, tucked into ground covers, or in a bed. This species blooms early, in March in some areas. It has sky-blue frilled bells with indigo stripes. Although the blossoms aren't long-lived, they self-sow freely, providing more flowers to enjoy the following year.
Grape hyacinths are hardy, easy to grow, and have long-lasting blooms--no garden should be without them. This species, also known as the feather hyacinth, has slender airy filaments and resembles a red-violet plume. It's completely unlike its grapy cousins in color and form, and makes a good, 10-inch cut flower. The bulbs themselves have a distinct pink color and produce toothlike bulblets that grow to flowering size in just one season.
From fleshy leaves arise bell-shaped, purplish blue, sometimes almost black, flowers. Flower heads appear two-toned due to paler crowns, which are sterile flowers. Grape hyacinth is good for naturalizing in gardens or lawns, for forcing or growing in container displays, and for rock gardens.
This graph hyacinth is a tall, brilliant powder-blue showstopper that shows beautifully with pink-cupped daffodils. Its namesake, Valerie Finnis, was a famous British plantswoman and photographer. Grape hyacinths are hardy, easy to grow, and have long-lasting blooms--no garden should be without them. They are particularly spectacular when allowed to naturalize, whether under trees, along a pathway, tucked into ground covers, or in a bed.
This North American coastal native exhibits quiet beauty and an easy-going habit. It grows to 10 feet tall, and spreads slowly to form colonies with glossy, semi-evergreen aromatic leaves. It looks equally at home as a hedge, in an herb garden, or in a natural meadow.
Jonquilla-type daffodils produce dark-green, narrow, often reedlike leaves, which are relatively easy to hide in the border while they mature, and there is usually more than one sweetly fragrant flower per stem. Probably the most fragrant of all, especially considering the size of the flowers, is N. ‘Baby Moon’, a precious, golden-yellow miniature daffodil.
This daffodil has large, long-lasting flowers that are a deep, sunny yellow with orange cups. Plant these in large groups for a specular mid-season show. Great for forcing indoors.
This miniature daffodil opens in very late spring. Its cup changes from yellow to white after the flowers open.
Triandrus-type daffodils usually have one or two nodding flowers per stem and are noted for their wonderful, often fruity, fragrance. N. ‘Hawera’ (pre-1950, Zones 3–8) is a miniature triandrus-type daffodil with many elfin, pale-yellow nodding bells per stem, each with a demitasse-shaped cup surrounded by swept-back petals. This adaptable daffodil can grow in dry areas, in pots, in full sun, and in partial shade. It contrasts nicely with Muscari armeniacum and is exquisite with hellebores.
The newly opened blossoms of N. ‘Intrigue’ (1970, Zones 3–9) are a soft chartreuse-yellow. As they mature, however, the flowers become a luminous white and attract a lot of attention, especially when planted with a blood-red tulip like ‘Hollandia’. When combined with another soft-colored flower, like Hyacinthus orientalis ‘Lady Derby’, it creates a peaceful scene. An American-bred jonquilla-type daffodil with several flowers per stem, ‘Intrigue’ also has a wonderful fragrance.
Generally speaking, daffodils perform best in full sun and well-drained soil, in areas where there is a fair amount of rainfall in the fall and spring and where the summer is relatively dry. However, cyclamineus-type daffodils seem to tolerate at least partial shade and more moisture than others do. Narcissus ‘Jack Snipe’ (pre-1951, Zones 3–8) is a charming example of this type of daffodil. Its white petals are swept back, as if it were standing in front of a fan, and its medium-length, buttercup-yellow trumpet (or nose) sticks straight out at a 90 degree angle from the stem. ‘Jack Snipe’ is an intermediate-size daffodil, standing only 8 to 10 inches tall, and is perfect for a rock garden or the front of a flower border. This whole division of daffodils is becoming more popular not only because it tolerates some shade but also because the shape of the flower is so handsome.
Jonquilla-type daffodils produce dark-green, narrow, often reedlike leaves, which are relatively easy to hide in the border while they mature, and there is usually more than one sweetly fragrant flower per stem. Golden-yellow, sweetly fragrant, and a wonderful perennial, ‘Quail’ creates a special color echo with the golden center of the small tulip Tulipa bakeri ‘Lilac Wonder’.
Although some people don’t consider double or peonylike daffodils classics, many double hybrids have been in existence for a long time. N. ‘Tahiti’ (1956, Zones 3–8) has a soft-yellow flower with bright reddish-orange interior ruffles is reminiscent of a blossom from the tropics. ‘Tahiti’ stands up straight under its own weight, even on windy days. Its coloration is eye-catching, so it makes a big impact in the garden.
Narcissus ‘Accent’ has white petals and a funnel-shaped, salmon-pink cup whose color stays true.
Narcissus ‘Rijnveld’s Early Sensation’ is a classic yellow trumpet-type daffodil and one of the earliest blooming. It can tolerate cold, snowy weather and it has a long blooming period. 'Rijnveld's Early Sensation' combines nicely with early crocuses and dwarf irises.
Brightly colored, large-cupped, and reliable, Narcissus 'Serola' has vivid orange and yellow flowers that make it the perfect choice for roadside plantings, for gardens viewed from a distance, and for hot-colored garden schemes. It shows up even better with contrasting colors like the bright, beet-red Hyacinthus orientalis ‘Woodstock’, or as a color echo with Tulipa ‘American Dream’.
The species daffodil N. bulbocodium var. conspicuus (Zones 3–9) has been around so long that no one can actually put a date on it. Its look is unusual: It does have six golden petals, but they are tiny, twisted, and often difficult to see. Its prominent rounded cup gives rise to its nickname, hoop petticoats. It prefers acidic soil and when happy, will reseed, blooming like buttercups in groups. Only 4 to 6 inches tall, it naturalizes itself in many areas.
This Division 10 Bulbocodium species blooms late in the season, bearing up to 5 fragrant and nodding golden-yellow flowers. It has cylindrical, dark-green stems to 12 inches. It is good for naturalizing, and prefers neutral to alkaline soil.
Mock orange is an upright, deciduous shrub grown for its very fragrant, creamy white flowers that bloom in early summer. 'Aureus' has golden yellow leaves in spring that turn yellow-green in summer. Use in a shrub border or woodland garden.
'Brilliantissima' rivals hollies (Ilex spp.) in the quantity and crimson color of its fruit. The quarter-inch-diameter, crab apple-like berries hang in clusters amid brilliant foliage that matures to scarlet. Like the species, this cultivar develops into a handsome, multistemmed, vase-shaped shrub that reaches 8 to 12 feet tall and about half as wide.
This ninebark's new leaves unfurl a golden yellow and then mature to a rosy red-burgundy. Clusters of white blooms accompany the dramatic foliage in early summer, followed by bright red seedheads that fade to tan. 'Center Glow' is a fast grower and an ideal candidate for mixed borders or foundation plantings. It grows to 8 to 10 feet tall and almost as wide. In winter, the older stems have attractive peeling bark.
With its upright, arching branches and dark chocolate to purple foliage, Diabolo® ninebark offers a color contrast with silver-leaved plants and makes a fine backdrop hedge. Clusters of button-like, pinkish white flowers appear in summer. Even when they fade to a tawny tone, they stand out nicely against the dark leaves. -Chris McKernan, Regional Picks: Lower Plains, Fine Gardening issue #120
Many gardeners know ninebark as an undistinguished shrub with ordinary green leaves, white flowers, and fall fruit. But 'Seward,' sold under the trademark name Summer WineTM, has outstanding burgundy leaves and pink flowers that bloom in early summer. This plant is super tough and makes a stunning focal point in a summer border.
The yellow to lime green foliage of 'Nugget' ninebark makes an interesting contrast with the exfoliating, cinnamon-colored bark. Clusters of white flowers appear along the stems in early summer, followed by dark brown seed capsules, which add winter interest. Unsheared, the plant has a vase-shaped growth habit. -David Graper, Regional Reports: Upper Plains, Fine Gardening issue #122
This neat, rounded shrub has given rise to many noteworthy cultivars. It grows to 12 feet tall and 10 feet wide, producing drooping clusters of delicate white blossoms in winter and spring. Use this shrub in a woodland, rock garden, container, or as a foundation plant.
This compact, rounded shrub produces reddish-purple buds that first open as soft-pink then mature to white. It grows to about 5 feet high and wide, making it a superb specimen for a container or small garden.
Shrubby cinquefoil is a bushy deciduous shrub growing to 3 feet tall and 5 feet wide that has been bred to include a multitude of cultivars that bear flowers in a large array of colors including white, yellow, pink, peach, orange, and red. The flowers are small, single, and rose-like and appear continuously from late spring to early fall on finely textured , dark green foliage.
A suckering deciduous shrub with a dense, rounded form, beach plum has dull green leaves that are pale green beneath. Single or double white flowers bloom in mid-spring, maturing to edible purple fruit.
'Schubert' choke cherry, with its vivid foliage and pyramidal form, makes a fine focal point. Ephemeral, light pink flowers are followed by abundant, dark red-purple fruit that birds love. (Don't plant it near patios or walks, as they'll quickly be covered by bird droppings.) If the tree you buy isn't grafted onto nonsuckering rootstock; otherwise, suckers could become problematic as the years go by. -Ron Smith, Regional Picks: Upper Plains, Fine Gardening issue #120
A bushy, deciduous, slow-growing shrub with finely textured, scalloped leaves, this plant grows to 12 feet tall and almost as wide. 'Asplenifolia' bears clusters of green flowers, followed by round red fruit that ripens to black in the fall. Grow in a shrub border or as hedging. All parts may cause severe discomfort if ingested.
This deciduous azalea has dark green leaves and funnel-shaped white flowers suffused with pink. The flowers have a spicy, sweet fragrance. This plant blooms very late in the season, and sporadically throughout the summer. Cultivars include 'Delaware Blue’, ‘Pink and Sweet’, 'Lemon Drop’, 'Parade’, and ‘Lollipop’.
This vigorous shrub hugs the ground (to 2 feet tall) and spreads out to 8 feet, making it an excellent choice for stablizing a bank or smothering weeds. It has small yellow flowers, hairy red fruits, and glossy leaves that change to gorgeous orange-red in autumn.
Lemon-lime foliage, fuzzy stems, and intense fall color make this sumac cultivar a standout. It grows into an upright, rounded form about 6 feet tall and as wide. New growth emerges chartreuse. Fall brings leaves of yellow, scarlet, and orange. Flowers are yellowish green and followed, on female plants, by hairy, dark red fruit. This plant spreads by suckers and can be invasive. The species is native to North America.
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 is one of the darkest-flowered roses from the oldest class of garden roses, the gallicas. 'Cardinal de Richelieu' is a strong grower with a compact, lax habit. The rounded, double, fragrant, deeply colored flowers are a deep burgundy-purple. They are in bloom from spring to early summer. Introduced in 1840.
This vigorous, upright shrub rose sports smooth, olive-green leaves and clusters of cup-shaped, semi-double, fragrant, bubble-gum-pink flowers from spring to fall. Flowers are followed by round hips in shades of orange and red.
This spreading rose grows to only 2 feet tall, making it an ideal groundcover for a steep bank or roadside. It produces fragrant, double, deep-pink blossoms from spring to fall.
Each bush is covered in a masses of scarlet red blooms from late spring thru fall. One of the new Next Generation Flower Carpet roses with improved heat and humidity tolerance and disease resistance.
This choice rose has single, gently cupped light-pink flowers that exude an intense, clove-scented perfume. It blooms in spring and sporadically throughout the season, and produces red hips. In autumn, the foliage turns deep maroon, which changes to yellow tinged with coppery highlights. It grows to 3 to 4 feet high and wide.
It’s nice to have roses in pots on a patio. However, if you have small children
you need to be aware of thorns. 'Oso Happy Smoothie' will not only thrive in a
pot, but it’s also thornless. -Paul Zimmerman
Vibrant blossoms appear in spring and continue until frost. In fall, the dark green foliage and hearty stems are edged with red. -Judith Ireland, Regional Reports: Northeast, Fine Gardening issue #122
Taller roses bear their flowers towards the top of the plant. It’s nice to add
color around the base and if red is your desire, ‘Red Drift’ is a great choice. -Paul Zimmerman
'Agnes' is one of the few yellow rugosa roses, and it epitomizes the finest rugosa attributes in both leaf and overall form. Doubled blooms give this selection an old-fashioned aspect, as does its delightful fragrance, which is reminiscent of antique roses. Bloom color changes somewhat with the temperature: in cool temperatures, the flowers are an apricot hue, but as the weather warms, they turn a soft yellow. -Suzanne Verrier, No muss, no fuss rugosa roses, Fine Gardening issue #121
Though not very well known, 'Dart's Dash' is one of the best of the crimson double rugosa roses. 'Dart's Dash' has large blossoms with the spicy scent typical of rugosas and when blooming is done, the plant puts forth a marvelous display of showy hips. It establishes itself quickly and is a fine choice for a low hedge. -Suzanne Verrier, No muss, no fuss rugosa roses, Fine Gardening issue #121
Large, open, semi-double pink flowers with yellow stamens and an intoxicating scent make 'Foxi' an outstanding rugosa rose. The relatively small height of the shrub makes the blossoms appear larger. This is a relatively new rugosa rose. -Suzanne Verrier, No muss, no fuss rugosa roses, Fine Gardening issue #121
'Henry Hudson' has flattened, symmetrical, semi-double, white flowers with a spicy clove scent. The dense and deep green foliage makes a fitting backdrop for this selection's reddish buds and ensuing cream-colored flowers. The blossoms don't drop cleanly, so deadheading is necessary. -Suzanne Verrier, No muss, no fuss rugosa roses, Fine Gardening issue #121
'Linda Campbell' is an unscented, true red rugosa rose. Attractiv, smooth-leaved glossy foliage and clusters of elegant buds open to bright blossoms. It grows in an upright habit and makes a very nice addition to the back of a hot-color border. -Suzanne Verrier, No muss, no fuss rugosa roses, Fine Gardening issue #121
'Polar Ice' is one of the most vigorous and densely growing rugosa roses and features clusters of double, slightly nodding flowers. Green buds open to creamy white blooms with pink petals and deeper pink centers. The flowers smell lightly of baby powder, and the new lime green foliage smells like strawberries and sweet grass. In autumn, the foliage turns bright yellow. -Suzanne Verrier, No muss, no fuss rugosa roses, Fine Gardening issue #121
'Purple Pavement' has large, ruffled blossoms with a purple-red color and strong fragrance. In the fall, the blossoms give way to large, handsome hips, and the foliage turns from green to shades of yellow and maroon. This shapely shrub with dependable repeat bloom it is especially good for a late display, when the hips appear alongside fall asters and other perennials with assertive autumn colors. -Suzanne Verrier, No muss, no fuss rugosa roses, Fine Gardening issue #121
'Wasagaming' (pronounced "wah-SAG-ah-ming") is a prolific bloomer that has the charm of the antique roses but with greater vigor and better growth habit. Cascading rich pink blossoms with an old-rose scent spill across the shrub. 'Wasagaming' will thrive in less sunny but bright conditions. -Suzanne Verrier, No muss, no fuss rugosa roses, Fine Gardening issue #121
This variety has single, papery white blossoms that open from light pink buds and have contrasting yellow stamens. The heavily-scented flowers are followed by reddish-orange hips. It grows up to 6 feet high.
This native species flowers in summer, producing edible fruits and leaves suitable for making tea. It naturalizes in thickets, and grows well in wild areas in full sun or dappled shade.
A familiar native shrub, American elderberry is commonly seen along streambanks and roadsides and in moist woodlands and thickets throughout eastern North America. It has pinnate leaves with toothed leaflets and small white flowers borne in large flattened clusters in summer. Purple-black, round fruit comes next, attracting wildlife to the garden. Elderberries typically grow to about 12 feet high, but they tolerate pruning to a smaller size. Fruit is edible when cooked.
This choice specimen has a graceful habit with finely divided golden foliage that emerges as bronze. It is less susceptible to sun scorch than the other gold varieties. It bears creamy white flowers that mature into red fruits.
If you like plants that stay in tidy, little assigned corners, this is not the plant for you. But if you have a large space to fill and love plants with attitude, this is your baby. False spireas form large masses of arching branches that are covered with green pinnate leaves. Billowy white sprays of flowers appear in mid- to late summer. Mature plants spread where you let them. There is a wide range of closely related species and selections, but there’s not much difference between them.
If you want a summer-flowering shrub with great fall color, look no further. Fritsch spirea jumps out with a striking red, orange, and yellow glow even brighter than the fall color of oaks and maples. It has coarser foliage than others in the genus, and if sheared back in spring, it produces giant summer blooms.
This low-growing, clump-forming shrub has a spreading habit, reaching 10 inches tall. Slender branches spread across the ground. Foliage is light blue-green to 1 inch long. In late June, this plant bears clusters of pink flowers; bloom continues into September if deadheaded.
This fast-growing, upright specimen has very attractive small, blunt, dark blue-green leaves and arching branches. Bowl-shaped, pure white flowers are borne midsummer in large numbers. They attract butterflies.
This decidous, thicket-forming shrub has attractive wavy-margined leaves that resemble maple leaves and have good orange-yellow fall color. Cutleaf stephanandra grows to less than 2 feet tall but spreads by suckering. Flowers are unremarkable at a distance, but attractive close-up. In winter, the rich brown, arching shoots draw the eye.
Chenault coralberry is an undemanding workhorse. This 2-foot-tall shrub spreads about 10 feet without causing any trouble. It does an excellent job of covering ground and smothering weeds while eliminating erosion. In late summer, small pink flowers appear and are followed by rosy red fruit.
This hybrid produces vivid deep purple-pink fruit from late summer on. It forms a thicket (which may be sheared) 3 to 5 feet high and wide.
From the Fairytail series of dwarf lilacs, this petite cultivar bears single, light pink flowers in mid- to late season. It has a rounded, compact habit, 6 feet high by 5 feet wide. It shows good resistance to powdery mildew.
This fragrant hybrid (S. persica × S. vulgaris) has slightly nodding, 6-inch-long clusters of lilac-purple flowers. It forms a spreading shrub, 15 feet tall and wide.
This fragrant hybrid (S. persica × S. vulgaris) produces slightly nodding light-purple flower clusters to 6 inches long in midseason. It forms a spreading shrub, 12 feet tall and wide, and shows good disease resistance.
This early flowering hybrid produces fragrant, single white flowers. It forms a shrub 8 feet high by 10 feet wide, and exhibits autumn coloring. This hybrid and its offspring show some disease resistance.
This graceful hybrid produces fragrant, pale lilac flower clusters up to 4 inches long in late spring. The difference this lilac offers is its airy, finely textured foliage. It forms a spreading shrub 6 feet to 8 feet tall and wide.
This hardy, late-flowering hybrid bears perfumed rose-pink buds opening to pink flowers. It forms a shrub 10 feet high by 8 feet wide.
This species has an untraditional, spicy fragrance, and it is one of the most strongly scented lilacs. In midseason, it bears single, white-throated, pale purple flowers that open to white. It forms a shrub 10 feet high by 10 feet wide.
This fragrant cultivar bears single rose-pink flowers in midseason, which often rebloom in late summer or autumn. It forms a shrub 6 feet high by 10 feet wide.
This strongly fragrant cultivar bears single light purple flowers in mid- to late season, and it exhibits maroon autumn foliage. It forms a compact shrub 8 feet high by 8 feet wide.
This cultivar has double bluish-purple flowers that open from violet buds in midseason. It forms a shrub 12 feet high by 8 feet wide.
This cultivar has double opalescent pink flower buds that open to white in midseason. The flowers are very fragrant. It forms a shrub 12 feet high by 8 feet wide.
This unique cultivar bears slightly fragrant, creamy yellowish blossoms in midseason. It forms a shrub 12 feet high by 8 feet wide.
In midseason this unique cultivar bears slightly fragrant, single purple blossoms with distinct white margins. It forms a shrub 12 feet high by 8 feet wide.
This evergreen shrub with finely textured sage green foliage forms a perfect, 3-foot-diameter, slow-growing globe, hence its name, Mr. Bowling Ball®.
For later-blooming flowers with ornamental foliage, try Tulipa 'Carnaval de Nice'. It has grayish green foliage finely outlined in white and fragrant white-and-burgundy-feathered blooms. Its flower patterns and height are variable (ranging from 16 to 20 inches tall) but always eye-catching.
Tulipa ‘Charmeur’ features leaves with curled yellow edges and 18-inch-tall white-rimmed dark rosy blooms. The color combination may be a bit garish for some, but it will certainly brighten up container plantings in a drab doorway.
Tulipa 'Esperanto' has white-bordered leaves, but it is unique with its long-lasting deep rose red and dark green streaked flowers, which stand 10 to 12 inches tall.
Tulipa 'Garant' has striking yellow-framed leaves that are even more prominent when its 16- to 18-inch-tall sunny yellow flowers appear in midspring. Uniformity of color makes this an elegant, charismatic tulip in beds and borders.
Tulipa ‘New Design’ (1974) has pink-bordered leaves and silvery pink, 14- to 20-inch-tall blooms flushed yellow with pale fuchsia tips. This bulb is easygoing and long-lived.
Reaching 20 to 24 inches tall, Tulipa 'Silverstream' has chartreuse and yellow flowers suffused with red-and-rose markings that create a watercolor effect. The foliage has distinct cream-colored edging. Grouping these in a garden with a pastel palette would have driven Monet viridian with envy.
This named variety of the species has soft sulfur-yellow flowers up to 3 inches across. The spring blossoms sit 4-6 inches high, surrounded by wavy-edged, gray-green foliage that reaches 8-10 inches tall. Species tulips prefer sharp drainage and plenty of room to grow. Most do well in rock gardens, small displays, and containers.
The 12-inch-tall Tulipa 'Calypso' (1992) is known for being reliably perennial. It has decorative stippled leaves and large orange-red flowers rimmed with primrose and a black base.
Known for being reliably perennial, Tulipa ‘Oratorio’ (introduced in 1952) blooms in midspring and has splayed, flashy maroon-mottled leaves. It is a standout in the garden from the moment the exquisite heavily striped leaves emerge. Its dazzling 14- to 16-inch-tall coral pink flowers are an added bonus.
Tulipa 'Red Riding Hood' (introduced in 1953) is a true beauty, with flowers that are scarlet red inside, carmine outside, and black at the base. They float above richly striped foliage on 10- to 12-inch tall stems.
This species tulip blooms in mid- to late spring with fire-engine-red flowers that look like open, pointed stars with purple centers. It reaches 4-6 inches tall and not quite as wide. Species tulips prefer sharp drainage and plenty of room to grow; they will often naturalize. Most do well in rock gardens, small displays, and containers.
This bunch tulip has multiple orange-red flowers that bloom in spring above green leaves edged in creamy white. A species tulip, it is more likely to bloom in subsequent years. It reaches less than a foot tall and is stunning planted en masse.
Highbush blueberry provides four seasons of fanfare, starting with twisted, peeling stems in winter; profuse white or pink blossoms in spring; savory blue fruit in summer; and long-lasting foliage the color of a rich red wine in fall. The maroon to scarlet fall shades are effective for a solid month or more, as the leaves (especially in full sun) are reluctant to fall. The best fruit set occurs when you plant at least two cultivars that will bloom concurrently to ensure cross-pollination.
This woody, multi-stemmed, deciduous shrub has a rounded shape and grows 5 to 9 feet tall and wide. It has toothed leaves and small, creamy white flowers in May to June that mature to bluish black spherical fruits.
Doublefile viburnum is a horizontally branched, deciduous shrub native to China and Japan. Along its branches in mid-spring bloom double rows of flattened clusters of sterile florets, resembling lace-cap hydrangea flowers. Oval red fruit follows and ripens to black, often attracting birds.
This shrub's signature characteristics are its tiered shape and handsome, grayish brown branches. It lights up in fall with reddish purple leaves and bright red fruits that change to black. In spring, flat flower clusters borne above stems open white and turn deep pink. Summer leaves are dark green with furrowed veins.
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.
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 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.
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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