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Upright, open bell-shaped flowers completely cover the foliage of this late-blooming Campanula for several months in summer. This small plant is suitable for the front of the border or a rock garden. Numerous cultivars are available.
Diminutive (to 2 inches tall) spikes bear lavender-blue nodding flowers that sway in the breeze.
This 2- to 3-foot-tall bellflower bears single or double flowers in white, blue, or pink.
This plant is one of the most popular campanulas. Its stiff mat of slowly spreading evergreen rosettes is topped by 3-foot-tall, all open, bell-shaped lavender to white flowers in late spring.
This low, mat-forming plant has blue-purple flowers in summer.
Serbian bellflowers have an easy, undemanding habit. Creating a stream of lavender blue, the 1-inch-diameter star-shaped blossoms bloom reliably from late spring to early fall. The foliage remains evergreen in mild winters and needs to be sheared only once in a while to keep its appearance tidy. 'Blue Waterfall' flows beautifully along bed edges and through rock gardens in full sun to partial shade.
Spotted bellflower has heart-shaped foliage on a creeping rhizome with tubular, bell-shaped creamy white to dusky pink flowers with red spots and hairs. This foot-tall bellflower is native to Siberia and Japan.
Trumpet creeper is a vigorous climber with clusters of trumpet-shaped orange to red flowers from late summer to autumn.
Tropicanna Gold is perhaps the showiest of all of the variegated cannas and one of the best for hot, humid, sunny southern gardens. Favored for its bright green and yellow variegated foliage and deep tangerine flowers, Tropicanna Gold will grow at the edge of ponds in shallow water as well as in normal garden conditions. It is adaptable to heat and humidity. Protect in the northern part of its range, or lift tubers in fall where not hardy and store over winter.
Two-foot-tall, stiff, orange-brown blades curve at the end like a shepherd’s staff. Burnished red-bronze foliage, which fades to flax at the tips, gives off a warm glow when backlit by the sun.
This sedge is one of the most adaptable of the ground-cover grasses. Its ability to look the same in sun or shade makes it a valuable asset in plantings that go in and out of full sun. Berkeley sedge is a good solution for areas under stress where lawn grasses often fail. The flowers are not particularly noteworthy.
Seersucker sedge is an evergreen, spreading sedge with narrow brown-black flowers on 8-inch stems in spring. Its wide, puckered foliage is shiny and bright green, reaching over a foot long. This sedge is native to rich woods of the eastern U.S. and makes a nice edger or accent plant.
This sedge's pearly, straplike leaves resemble striped ribbon waiting to be wrapped around a package. It sports fuzzy green flowers with green stamens in late spring. Grow as an edging or groundcover.
The papaya is a herbaceous, fast-growing shrub that grows best in tropical and subtropical climates where it will flower continually, but it will perform in colder climates from high summer to early fall. It offers a striking sculptural presence to the landscape due to its lobed, 2-foot-across leaves and large, delicious fruit (sometimes reaching 20 pounds).
These plants can take worst of the a hot summer (heat, lack of water, and humidity) and still manage to perform well. They generally live four to five years before they need replacing, but during that time, they offer dependable foliage and pretty blue flowers from mid- to late summer. Blue-mist shrubs form low-growing, finely-textured mounds and are deer-resistant.
'First Choice' is ideal for a mixed or shrub border. It's an attractive woody shrub with dark green leaves, dark purplish blue flowers, and a compact habit. Misty blue flowers appear 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.
'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.
'Worcester Gold' is an attractive, mounding, woody shrub with warm yellow to chartreuse foliage and lavender-blue flowers in late summer and early autumn. The flowers are fragrant and attractive to bees and butterflies. The foliage is also aromatic. It is ideal for a mixed or shrub border.
A tender perennial native to Madagascar, most often grown as an annual, Catharanthus roseus has attractive, glossy foliage and a bushy form that is covered by phlox-like flowers from summer to first frost. It is a very popular bedding plant and works in containers as well. Many cultivars are vividly colored, but 'Peach' has subtle pale pink-peach flowers with a darker eye.
The flowers of this celosia cluster together in great numbers and look like silky, feathery plumes in vivid hues of yellow, red, magenta, or apricot. The plumes rise above the foliage on 2-foot-tall stalks, which wave their flags of color in the breeze from July to frost.
Building Better Borders
Use plant combinations that focus on complementary colors, textures, and forms
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by Phil Wood
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When starting a bed, choose the method that suits you best
by Steve Carroll
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