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This Japanese maple has long-lobed, deeply divided leaves that are cherry red in the spring, a perfect contrast to the pea green bark. In summer the foliage changes slowly from red to green and back to red in fall. The habit is wide spreading with pendulous branches providing movement in the least of wind. Though slow to mature, it is an easy tree to grow and a striking beauty.
The foliage is bright strawberry red at first emergence, and slowly pink suffuses each leaf along the vein as the spring progresses. Graceful deeply divided leaves with serrated edges gently curve at the tips. In its mature form, this tree will most likely have wide spreading with cascading branches (Because this is a new cultivar and Japanese maples can be very slow growing, accurate information about this tree’s maturity can be difficult to come by) . This cultivar is a seedling from ‘Aka shigitatsu sawa’.
A half-hardy perennial, this sophisticated climber grows to 8 feet tall. It has a profuse show of 1.5-inch indigo, violet, pink, or white flowers. It's great for the cold greenhouse or conservatory, and will often bloom until the end of the year unless there is a hard frost.
Red Japanese barberry is a deciduous shrub with multi-season interest. Most striking are the deep reddish purple inch-long leaves. In spring, scented yellow flowers appear on arching stems. This barberry is an excellent hedge pland, and it also looks good in the middle to rear of beds and borders. Watch out for the brittle, three-pronged thorns. -Gerald Gibbens, Regional Picks: Northwest, Fine Gardening issue#120
Though its leaves are small, this semi-deciduous shrub stands out in the landscape. Littleleaf cordia has a prolifically branching, slightly open form that looks good year-round. Its roughly textured, dark gray-green foliage contrasts nicely with its coppery brown young stems. From late spring into fall, branch tips bear clusters of pristine, white, funnel-shaped flowers to provide a visually cooling effect during the peak of summer heat. It grows to 6 to 8 feet tall and wide.
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.
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.
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.
There are few better winter displays than the blossoms of 'Pallida' witch hazel. Bright green leaves line its flaring branches in spring and summer. After a display of yellow fall color, the plant shows its distinctive branch structure. Around the end of December, clusters of buds begin to open into spidery, pale yellow flowers. These cover the branches until early March, giving off a rich, fruity perfume. This small tree or large shrub grows up to 12 feet tall and wide.
Oakleaf hydrangeas originated along the sandy streams of the southeastern United States, and they are more drought tolerant than many other hydrangeas. Their matte green leaves are coarsely textured and deeply lobed, and in fall they turn red and purple. White flower heads form in spring, and as summer draws to a close they turn shades of pink, green, and ecru. -Nellie Neal, Regional Picks: Southeast, Fine Gardening issue #127
This dense, evergreen holly reaches 6 to 10 feet tall and at least as wide. The species is rarely used in landscapes, but there are many cultivars available with more interesting shape and color. This plant grows slowly, but can be invasive. Its dark green leaves are lustrous and the black fruit is hidden beneath them, so it is not obvious as in other hollies. Use Japanese holly in foundation plantings, hedges, beds and borders, or formal gardens.
This annual climber has winged stems and deliciously fragrant, ruffled blossoms. Many cultivars exist with varying bloom color (solid, mixed, or bicolor), size, and climbing habit.
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.
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
This is considered one of the best white flowering currants, bearing long-lasting, pendent racemes of pungently spicy, pure-white blooms. Its yellow autumn leaves fall to expose mahogany stems in winter, which later make a striking contrast to chartreuse flower buds in spring. It grows to about 10 feet high and wide.
This outstanding rose has single, fragrant blossoms of rich cabernet-red. The young foliage emerges chartreuse, while the new stems and small thorns are claret. The flowers are followed by hips the color of ripe grapes, which contrast with the amber autumn foliage. This rose grows up to 8 feet high.
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 fragrant rose produces generous clusters of double apricot flowers that fade to a soft yellow. It usually grows to 5 feet and taller when trained, making it an ideal candidate for screening or growing up a wall, arch, or trellis. It blooms from spring to autumn.
This fragrant rose blooms nonstop from June until frost, with vivid pink, semidouble blossoms. It grows 6 to 8 feet high, making it ideal for training up walls, pillars, or other structures.
This rose produces a profusion of rosette-shaped ivory blossoms in large clusters. It forms a densely arching shrub, reaching 8 feet high and 4 feet wide and blooming from spring to autumn. It is ideal as a low climber up a wall, arch, or trellis.
A guide to growing, care, and propagation of rex begonias, plus some great cultivars
by Rita Randolph
10 Outstanding Succulents
Skip the finicky selections and go for these unique yet reliable beauties
by Maureen Gilmer
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
Find spots in your garden for plants you thought you couldn’t grow
by Dan Johnson
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