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This hardy cross between M. liliiflora and M. stellata is an open, deciduous shrub up to 20 feet tall and wide. It blooms in early spring and sporadically into fall, with goblet-shaped, deep pinkish-red flowers that are 7 to 9 inches long.
This cross of M. acuminata and M. denudata usually forms a small tree with an upright central leader or sometimes a multi-stemmed shrub. It has yellow cup to star-shaped flowers (3 to 4 inches across) that are fragrant and appear before the leaves in early to mid-spring.
Few species can match the elegant drama of this specimen in full bloom. It has luminous, pale yellow, cup-shaped flowers to 6 inches across that seem to glow on the bare branches in late spring.
This rounded, small tree grows to 25 feet tall. It is a cross of M. kobus and M. stellata 'Rosea'. It has star-shaped flowers with 12 narrow petals, white on the inside and purplish-pink on the outside; the transition of color from bud to bloom is a beautiful study in color. The blossoms are fragrant and appear before the leaves in early to mid-spring.
This vigorous, erect tree grows from 20 to 30 feet tall and has star-shaped flowers with 15 broad white petals blushed with pink. The blossoms are fragrant and appear before the leaves in early to mid-spring.
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.
Few shrubs offer flowers as late as this one, which starts blooming in late October or early November. The upright, 10- to 12-inch-wide flower clusters last until January or February, then give way to long strings of dark purple fruit that the birds devour. The evergreen foliage is so architectural, 'Charity' would be a spectacular shrub even if it didn't bloom. Some years, the leaves turn red, but instead of relying on it, consider it a pleasant surprise when it happens.
Leatherleaf mahonia is a thick shrub with a formal feel. Its stiff, green-blue foliage looks something like holly foliage, and in spring, airy clusters of tiny, golden yellow flowers appear. These are followed in fall by inky blue berries. Consider this plant for a a mixed-shrub foundation planting, or use it as a hedge plant. -Nellie Neal, Regional Picks: Southeast, Fine Gardening issue #127
“Soft caress,” indeed! You’ll barely recognize this shade dweller as an Oregon grape when it sends up its long slender foliage without a single thorn. Its spikes of fragrant, lemon yellow flowers bloom from fall through winter, and will add a jolt to any shady bed. But the large clusters of silver-blue berries that follow the blooms are what I look forward to most. For the best results, give this drought-tolerant perennial afternoon shade, well-draining soil, and plenty of water the first year. -Leslie Finical Halleck, Fine Gardening # 147 (October 2012), page 74
A 2-foot-high evergreen shrub native to the woods and woodland edges of the Pacific Northwest, mahonia gives a shady area three seasons of interest. Erect racemes covered with clear yellow flowers rise from the plant's leaf axils or from the main stem tip in spring. In contrast to these upright blooms are long, elegant, compound leaves made up of leaflets with spiny edges. In fall, some leaves turn a lovely wine-red. During summer, clusters of berries mature to dark blue with a powdery whitish coating.
From May to frost, whatever the temperature, this plant's creamy yellow markings do not fade. It looks good in containers or in garden beds, and you can use it in the foreground or as a focal point in distant plantings. Variegated tapioca attains a height and width of 3 to 4 feet. It is normally grown as an annual, but can be overwintered indoors. -Allan Armitage, Plant picks, Fine Gardening issue #121
Horehound is a spreading perennial with scalloped, toothed, gray-green leaves, white-felted beneath, to 2 inches long. Small tubular flowers open in whorls in late spring, varying from tepid gray and pale lilac to greenish white.
Mazus reptans is a mat-forming perennial with rosettes of lance-shaped toothed leaves. It spreads quickly through rooting stems. From late spring to mid-summer, it bears 2- to 5-flowered racemes of snapdragon-like purple-blue flowers with lower lips spotted with yellow and red.
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.
Honey bush has attractive, 12- to 20-inch-long pinnate leaves with sharply toothed silver-green leaflets. It bears spike-like racemes of oddly scented brownish crimson to brick-red flowers from late spring to midsummer.
This clumping, blue-green foliaged grass has amethyst-pink flowers that create fluffy, 8- to 12-inch-long plumes throughout the summer. Eventually, the flowers mature to the color of root beer foam. It is heat and drought tolerant, and it makes a fine annual in colder climates. Excellent drainage will help it thrive in humid summer climates. Not invasive from seed, ruby grass works great grown singly in pots or in groups.
This clump-forming perennial has light blue to purplish blue pendulous flowers that open from pink buds atop 16- to 24-inch stems in mid- to late spring. Elliptic to ovate, hairless, bluish green leaves yellow and die back once the flowers fade after about 10 days.
This bushy perennial has oval, deep green leaves on branched stems. In summer, blooms appear: fragrant red, pink, magenta, yellow or white flowers with a delicate, faded-vanilla aroma. Flowers open in late afternoon and die by morning.
Native to the southwestern U.S., California, and Mexico, wild four o'clocks cover themselves with hundreds of purple-pink, petunia-like blooms that open in unison in the afternoon or in the morning on cloudy days. Their musky fragrance attracts their primary pollinator, the hawkmoth. Grow in a border. xeric garden, or rock garden.
Variegated Japanese silver grass is a boon in any garden where fine texture, a gentle color scheme, and a bit of swaying in the wind are welcome. This grass can be used as a focal point, an anchor plant, or even as a privacy screen.
Colorful Selections For Shade
With these striking plants, you'll never need to settle for a sea of green again
by Gene E. Bush
Forget the wallflower varieties - these 10 stars take center stage
Conifers for Shade
Yes, you can grow evergreen trees and shrubs in shade. Who knew?
by Christine Froehlich
10 Combinations for Shade
The secret is in using color to pump up the interest in low-light spots
by Inta Krombolz
Bringing Sun and Shade Together
Show off what these extremes have to offer, then unite them with some common ground
by Dan Johnson
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