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Full-moon maple has deeply lobed leaves, crimson autumn color, and plenty of small, reddish flowers in spring. It can be grown as a small tree or multi-stemmed shrub. Its growth habit is mounded, bushy, and spreading. The cultivar name 'Aconitifolium' refers to the fact that its ferny foliage resembles that of monkshood (Aconitum). This beautiful tree makes a great specimen plant and is very hardy.
A large shrub or small tree, Albizia julibrissin is native to Iran to Japan. It is a fast-growing plant whose seedlings can become invasive. It can be seen growing in the wild in the southeastern U.S. and California in waste places, fields, and along roads.
However, its bipinnate, ferny leaves and fluffy pink flowerheads that cover the tree in summer make it a garden-worthy plant, as do the fragrance emitted by the flowers, which attract bees. Seed pods that resemble flat beans follow the flowers and persist into winter. Still, care should be used so that seeds from garden plants can't escape into the wild.
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 golden-leaved version of the southern paper mulberry can be treated as a cutback shrub to control size and for best production of brilliant golden yellow, large, lobed leaves. Or it can be allowed to grow into a small- to medium-sized tree. It's a most desirable garden plant and looks fabulous with deep blue salvias.
This species is grown for its billowy clusters of fragrant white blossoms, which appear in May or June. The erect clusters are more substantial than C. virginicus, and open at the same time as the leaves. Female specimens produce blue-black fruits in autumn.
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.
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.
This southwestern native shrub grows to 20 feet tall and 15 feet wide and sports long, dull, spiny stems that green up and leaf out after a rain, followed by long, scarlet flowers that attract hummingbirds.When dry conditions return, ocotillo drops its leaves again. This cycle can replay several times a season. Great as a surprising specimen or forbidding hedge.
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.
This evergreen, California-native shrub grows to 20 feet tall and wide and produces abundant clusters of tiny white flowers in early summer, which attract beneficial insects that help control pests. This is followed by bright red berries that feed wildlife in fall and winter. The only species of its genus, Toyon is closely related to the genus Photinia.
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 vigorous evergreen holly bears abundant, shiny scarlet fruit. Use it as a screen, a background plant, or as a specimen.
Yaupon holly is an upright, irregularly branched, evergreen shrub or small tree with ovate, toothed, shiny dark-green leaves and gray branches. Profuse, transluscent scarlet fruit persists through the winter.
This spreading, deciduous shrub grows 15 to 25 feet tall and blooms in late spring to late summer, with white fragrant blossoms. Site where the slightly nodding flowers with rich rose-red stamens can be seen from below.
Carolina cherry laurel is an evergreen shrub or small tree with shiny green leaves and bowl-shaped, fragrant white flowers borne in dense clusters in spring. The fruit is lustrous, cherry-like, and black.
'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
This narrow deciduous azalea bears fragrant, funnel-shaped, white, pink, or deep rose flowers. It grows to 15 feet tall and 5 to 6 feet wide. Mid-green leaves are densely hairy beneath.
This late-flowering azalea has bright red flowers over crisp green leaves in summer to autumn.
This sweetly scented, rambling rose has glossy leaves and produces large groups of semi-double, creamy-white, 2-inch-wide blossoms in summer. It grows to 30 feet high.
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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