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This airy perennial has ternate dark green leaves, and produces many nodding flowers from midspring to midsummer. Its scarlet flowers have yellow, downward-pointing sepals.
This is a dwarf astilbe with attractive red-green leaves and reddish pink flowers in broad, dense conical groups. Its blooms appear mostly in summer.
Calibrachoa is a relatively new genus of flowering plants. The first cultivars weren't released until 1992. This cultivar's self-cleaning, petunia-like flowers are painted in a sunny mix of orange, red, and yellow. It is an easy-to-grow, trailing perennial, often used as an annual in hanging baskets, window boxes, and other containers.
This unique annual produces quilled blossoms of hollow, tube-shaped petals that radiate from the center in shades of white, pink, or carmine red. The flowers, which bloom all summer long, sometimes have bicolored interior and exterior tubes.
The intense scarlet red blooms and yellow centers of this bedding plant will stop you in your tracks. ‘Cosmic Red’ blooms all summer and looks great at the front of the border and in containers. As with other cosmos cultivars, grow this plant in full sun and moist, well-drained soil. The already hypnotic color will intensify as light levels increase.
'Figaro' is a dwarf "landscape" dahlia with semi-double flowers in shades of red, pink, orange, yellow, and white. It works well as bedding and in containers, and blooms from planting time until frost.
'Summer Sundae' Sweet William is a nice mix of red, pink, and white flowers held in rounded groups at the tops of stems. Plants bloom from late spring to early summer. The flowers are lightly fragrant. Use in a cottage garden or border, or in containers. It flowers the first year from seed.
Fringed flowers in shades of bright red with white centers open without fragrance in summer.
This mat-forming species with dark green leaves is one of the easiest to grow. Blossoms range from white to red and are usually single and without fragrance. Use as bedding or in rock gardens.
This mat-forming species with narrow, dark green leaves is one of the easiest to grow. Blossoms with red eyes open in early summer and may rebloom if sheared back after flowering.
This is a biennial or short-lived perennial, which may last longer and rebloom if deadheaded. It sports dramatic blossoms in contrasting colors in spires reaching six feet high in rich soil, but more likely to 3 or 4 feet.
California poppies grow to about 12 inches tall, and their pretty foliage is ferny, like carrot tops. They come in a variety of colors, from the standard golden orange, to yellow, cream, and red. Grow them in a border or rock garden.
This species draws much attention with its striking gaiety of color and form. Its large, bell-shaped flowers in shades of orange, yellow, and red dangle from tufts of shiny green leaf bracts. Sitting atop sturdy, 3-foot stalks, the flowers make a surprising and regal statement in the late spring garden.
Blanket flower is a bushy annual that produces red or yellow (or red and yellow) flowers over a long season. The blooms are daisy-shaped with a dark purple central disk. Growing to about 18 inches tall, this native of central and southern U.S. and Mexico is nice in a meadow, cut flower garden, border, or rock garden.
A glad for people who would normally never grow them, 'Atom' is about half the size of regular varieties, growing to at most 3 feet tall. This 1946 classic blends easily into perennial borders, and it won't get lost because its flowers are blazing red cooled by a thin, silvery edge.
An upright, bushy annual with flowers (actually bracts) that resemble bright red strawberries with tiny yellow "seeds." Flowers are produced from summer to early fall and are great for cutting and drying. Leaves are hairy. Gomphrena is fairly drought tolerant and very heat tolerant. Use as bedding, in a border, or in a cut flower garden.
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.
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'.
Cardinal flower has reddish purple stems and lance-shaped, often glossy, bright green leaves tinged with bronze. Bold red spikes of tubular two-lipped flowers with reddish purple bracts appear in summer and early autumn.
Red spider lily’s brilliant red flowers remind me of an azalea’s ball truss. Blooms fade quickly in hot weather, but a higher degree of shade helps them last a while longer. Depending on where it grows in the Southeast, red spider lily blooms from early September to mid-October. After the bloom stalks fade away, foot-long, strap-shaped leaves emerge and last through winter. Red spider lily is an heirloom bulb that is easily passed from hand to hand. Replant offsets as the leaves die in spring. -Parker Andes, Fine Gardening #147 (October 2012), page 71
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Skip the finicky selections and go for these unique yet reliable beauties
by Maureen Gilmer
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Use plant combinations that focus on complementary colors, textures, and forms
A guide to growing, care, and propagation of rex begonias, plus some great cultivars
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PLANTING PLAN: A deer-resistant bed that shines in fall and winter
by Nancy Matthews
Q&A Economical edging for beds
by Kate Feely
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