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This deciduous shrub is related to the forsythia, but differs in that it has white (rather than yellow) flowers that open in early spring before true forsythia. It is a member of the olive family (Oleaceae). In early spring, before the new leaves form, purplish buds all along the grey naked branches open into small white four-petaled, almond-scented flowers with yellow stamens. After flowering, green, glossy abelia-like leaves appear.
Acanthus mollis is prized for its bold clumps of shiny green leaves topped with striking, 3-foot-tall spires of white flowers which are clasped by showy purple bracts. This is a great plant for an eye-catching structural element in a part-shade border.
With their white margins and mottling, the jagged leaves of 'Tasmanian Angel' are a real showshopper, and in late summer, 3-foot-tall, pink-and-cream flower stalks heighten the effect. The variegation may be less pronounced as the leaves age, but the plant still draws the eye. Use it as a multiseason container specimen or as a bedding plant. -Allan Armitage, Plants to know and grow, Fine Gardening issue #119
Unlike other bugbanes, 'Hillside Black Beauty' offers deep purple-black foliage. From late spring to late summer, its dark hue makes a wonderful backdrop for colorful foliage and flowering shade plants. In fall, fragrant, cream-colored flowers appear on tall, wandlike stems. An added plus: this plant is deer resistant. --Michael Ruggiero, Regional Picks: Mid-Atlantic, Fine Gardening issue #127
A compact shrub form of serviceberry, 'Regent' produces finely toothed, rounded leaves that are bluish on top and gray-green on the bottom. In fall, they change to vibrant yellow and red. Spring finds the shrub sporting white flowers in upright clusters that give way to fruit in June. Birds as well as humans appreciate the tasty berries, which make great jellies and jams and are more abundant in full sun. This plant is native to the Great Plains and tolerates harsh, dry, or alkaline conditions when mature.
Asparagus is a perennial vegetable whose edible shoots are harvested in spring. Male plants produce better crop yields because they do not flower or fruit. The foliage is garden worthy because of its tall size and masses of feathery, delicate texture. Female plants may self-seed abundantly. Plants do not like to be moved, so choose a permanent location. Foliage is useful in floral arrangements.
The heart-shaped leaves of this perennial may stretch to 12 inches across. In mid- to late summer, showy white flower umbels add to this plant’s drama.
Grown for its rows of lilac-violet, round, glossy, tiny fruit, purple beautyberry is a small, deciduous shrub native to China, Korea, and Japan. Its long, arching branches often touch the ground, giving it an elegant shape. The small pink flowers in summer are followed by the small fruits that ripen in September and last through October. It has good yellow fall color as well.
'Longwood Blue' is ideal for a mixed or shrub border. It's an attractive woody shrub up to 3 feet tall and 5 feet wide with silvery leaves and violet-blue flowers.. The flowers appear along the stems in late summer and early autumn.This plant is relatively drought tolerant and very heat tolerant. The shrub expands as branches that touch the ground form their own roots and may self-seed.
One look at ‘Texas Scarlet’ flowering quince in bloom and most gardeners are instantly sold. Though the display only lasts a week or two in early spring, the sight of the tomato-red flowers is unforgettable. During the rest of the season, ‘Texas Scarlet’ remains a wave of glossy green leaves that reaches 2 to 3 feet tall in the toughest of conditions.
Downy clematis is a hardy, deciduous early bloomer that can flourish in Zone 4. The species will climb to 10 feet with a little support, and it has bell-shaped, purple-blue, almost columbine-like flowers about 1 to 2 inches, sometimes up to 4 inches in diameter, that mature to fluffy, pinkish seed heads. Blooms appear in spring and early summer, sometimes followed by a second flush in late summer to early autumn
‘Sixteen Candles’ summersweet is a newer cultivar of a popular native shrub. This compact selection reaches 3 to 5 feet tall. In summer, ‘Sixteen Candles’ is topped with aromatic, erect, butterfly-enticing white blooms for 4 to 6 weeks. In fall, the leaves turn an attractive yellow.
This species has tiers of lacy foliage that form broad clumps, 3 feet high by 3 feet wide. Its hot pink flowers bloom from May to July.
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.
This celebrated hybrid is notable for its green leaves with golden-yellow margins that fade to cream. Its deep-pink buds open to pale, pink-white blossoms in early spring and give off a sweet fragrance.
This rounded shrub has leaves with white margins, and pale pink star-shaped flowers that bloom in the spring, fall, and sometimes in between. The blossoms release an intoxicating fragrance.
This evergreen species produces rose-purple buds that open to white and are intensely and exotically fragrant. The blooms (from mid-winter to early spring) are followed by red fruit and dark-green, glossy leaves.
This winter daphne has yellow-margined leaves and rosy-pink flower buds that open to white. Fragrant flowers bloom in winter and early spring. Reaching 4 feet tall and wide, 'Marginata' is beautiful against a wall or near a patio or deck where its fragrance can be appreciated. Or grow in a shade garden where its variegated leaves really shine. Daphne odora is evergreen and has a rounded form. It is native to China and Japan.
This dramatic fern diplays 4-foot-tall arching fronds that form impressive clumps with age. It is a hybrid of two native ferns and makes a wonderful groundcover.
This is a handsome and lush, semi-evergreen vase-shaped fern with thickly textured leaves that is suitable for specimen treatment. It reaches 3.5 feet tall. Grow in a woodland or moist shade garden.
Annuals Pep Up Perennial Borders
Use the flowers and foliage of annuals to spark summer’s show
by Elisabeth Sheldon
Experts Pick Their Favorite Plants
We asked 42 gardening experts from around the country to select their favorite plants. Now you can see the complete results of the survey.
10 Outstanding Succulents
Skip the finicky selections and go for these unique yet reliable beauties
by Maureen Gilmer
Sweetly Scented Annuals
Pique your senses all season long with colorful, long-blooming beauties
by Danielle Ferguson
4 Ways to Design with Coleus
If you're having trouble finding the right plant for the right place, this versatile performer offers a multitude of options
by Ray Rogers
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