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Montbretia looks like a small gladiolus until it blooms in late summer, when abundant sprays of orange, gold, or yellow star-shaped flowers are held by gracefully thin, arching, zigzag stems rising from a cluster of pale green, sword-shaped leaves.
This bold-colored cuphea is a compact, mounding subshrub covered with dark-centered, cherry red blooms centered with a deep purple throat and slightly ruffled petal edges. Flowers are larger than those of the species. This sun-loving plant can reach up to 3 feet in height and width.
This tireless bloomer is best known for its small, tubular flowers, each colored in vivid orange hues and tipped with white, like the ash on a glowing cigar. Each plant creates a mass of slender branches with lance-shaped, mid-green leaves. At the tip of the branches are fireworks bursts of unusual cigarlike flowers, each 1-1/4 inches long and softly hairy. Though the flowers look orangey, they are actually colored red and shaded with green-yellow.
Spreading, glossy, dark green fronds reach a length of 8 to 24 inches. This fern has holly-like pinnae and sori scattered over the underside of the pinnae.
Usually found in moist, rocky areas or woodland in central and eastern Asia, this evergreen fern is deciduous in colder climates. Fronds may be cut to the ground in spring if damaged by dry winter winds. The distinctive fronds make great accents among groundcovers, or in drifts with perennials, shrubs, and trees.
'Bashful' is a reliable and prolific bloomer. The blooms (purplish petals surrounding a golden center) have a velvety feel that draws bees and butterflies. As dahlias go, 'Bashful' is not a tall plant, so it's best to place it near the front of a bed. -Alastair Gunn, Dahlias that deliver, Fine Gardening issue #121
With its deep purple-black leaves and brilliant summer blooms, 'Bishop of Llandaff' is a fine addition to the sunny bed or border. The 4- to 6-inch-round red-petaled flowers have deep purple and yellow centers, which are set off nicely by the plant's dark foliage. Use this long-stemmed cultivar in cut-flower arrangements. -Gerald Gibbens, Regional Picks: Northwest, Fine Gardening issue#120
'Gallery Art Deco' is a little taller than the other plants in the Gallery series. It grows to a height of 2 feet and bears 4- to 5-inch-wide peach/apricot blooms. Petals are outlined in burgundy. 'Gallery Art Deco' provides lots of large flowers for a long time, and it is a perfect choice for containers. -Alastair Gunn, Dahlias that deliver, Fine Gardening issue #121
'Honka' has a simple, cheerful charm. Its eight-petaled, star-shaped flowers are lightly scented (not many dahlias are fragrant). 'Honka' brings a subtle presence to the late-summer border. Sturdy stems support the flowers above the plant and look good in the front of the border alongside taller perennials with a backdrop of dark foliage. No staking is required. -Alastair Gunn, Dahlias that deliver, Fine Gardening issue #121
This new dahlia has gorgeous, bright yellow blooms that pop against its rich, dark purple (nearly black) foliage. 'Mystic Illusion' is well branched and makes a strong statement in beds, borders, and containers.
This stunning specimen has luminous, creamy-ivory leaves and narrow green margins. The pale pink flowers are secondary to the glamorous foliage, which can light up a shady border and create definitive contrast.
This small perennial blooms in summer with cup-shaped, waxy flowers that have numerous yellow stamens. Use Deinanthe in a shade garden, a woodland, or a rock garden.
A tuft of thin grassy foliage with gray and gold variegation distinguishes this cultivar. Early summer brings 3-foot-tall, airy plumes of tiny flowers that look beautiful when backlit by the sun. As fall approaches, the foliage turns golden with pink-coral tips. This grass even grows well in shadier sites. Plant in a border, woodland garden, or shaded rock garden.
This compact variety performs well as a groundcover and is an excellent choice for the mixed border or rock garden.
This erect and bushy deutzia has masses of fragrant white flowers in upright clusters for weeks in spring and early summer.
These modern hybrids bear salmon-pink blossoms ('Doris' has scarlet in the center) and bloom freely with moderate fragrance.
These short-lived perennials or biennials are charming plants, and are worth their weight in gold in the cottage border. After flowering, the attractive foliage holds the space well.
'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.
Especially fragrant and variable in color, modern border pinks form mats of grayish green leaves and fringed, saucer-shaped flowers.
Building Better Borders
Use plant combinations that focus on complementary colors, textures, and forms
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