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Highbush blueberry provides four seasons of fanfare, starting with twisted, peeling stems in winter; profuse white or pink blossoms in spring; savory blue fruit in summer; and long-lasting foliage the color of a rich red wine in fall. The maroon to scarlet fall shades are effective for a solid month or more, as the leaves (especially in full sun) are reluctant to fall. The best fruit set occurs when you plant at least two cultivars that will bloom concurrently to ensure cross-pollination.
This dwarf mullein is just 15 inches tall but it packs a big floral punch. In early spring, violet-purple flowers with dark purple anthers emerge unfazed by late frosts and continue into the summer.
This biennial or short-lived perennial has evergreen woolly leaves like silvery flannel that make sensuous-looking rosettes in the first year. In mid- to late summer of its second year, large sulfur-yellow blossoms open from the bottom up on flower stalks that reach up to 6 feet high. Blooming continues for many weeks. Verbascum bombyciferum has naturalized in regions of the U.S.
This is one of the few truly perennial species of mullein. Pale yellow blossoms with purple filaments bloom profusely on long flower stalks in mid- and late summer, reaching about 3 feet high. Individual flowers are short-lived but numerous, and flowering takes place over a long time. Verbascum chaixii's glossy, dark green rosettes are semi-evergreen.
This biennial or short-lived, semi-evergreen perennial forms rosettes of leaves densely covered with grayish-yellow hairs. In summer, its bright-yellow or occasionally white blossoms flower along erect, branching stalks up to 5 feet high. It has naturalized in regions of the U.S.
This biennial or short-lived perennial species is one of the earliest mulleins to bloom. Its showy blossoms of dark-purple, violet, pink, or white open along slender 3-foot spires for about two weeks in early summer. Its shiny dark green leaves are ground-hugging and evergreen. It has naturalized in some regions of the U.S.
This outstanding annual or perennial deserves its popularity. It makes an architectural statement with slender, willowy stems that stand up to 6 feet tall and do not need staking. It then branches out widely near the top where rich lilac-purple flower clusters stand alone, as if they are floating. This Verbena makes a great see-through plant.
This low-growing perennial produces long-lasting light pink blossoms with dark pink centers. It is an heirloom cultivar of the native species. Verbenas are excellent for annual borders, containers—especially hanging baskets—and some for the mixed herbaceous border.
This outstanding hybrid blooms from spring until frost and has beautifully dissected foliage. Innumerable clusters of purple blossoms cover this plant and look fantastic cascading over the edges of a hanging basket. Verbenas are excellent for annual borders, containers—especially hanging baskets—and for the mixed herbaceous border.
This fine Veronica was the Perennial Plant of the Year in 1993. From early summer to frost this upright cultivar forms branched spikes (to 7 inches long) of dark violet-blue flowers. It has glossy and crinkled dark green leaves, and grows to less than 2 feet tall. It is a fine choice for adding long-season color to a mixed border.
This tough, versatile plant requires little maintenance. 'Georgia Blue' is willing to grow in sunny or shady spots, puts up with excessive rain or drought conditions, and attracts butterflies with a low blanket of sky blue flowers from spring into summer. Small, dark green leaves turn glossy burgundy in winter. Use it in containers or rock walls, or as a companion groundcover to spring bulbs under trees.
This species has multiple 5- to 7-foot-tall, tapering spikes of pinkish-lavender flowers from summer to fall. They look like elegant, living candelabras and add a vertical accent to the back of a mixed border or wild garden.
This species has multiple tapering, soft spikes of white to pale pink or bluish purple flowers that look like elegant, living candelabras. The blooms reach 4 feet or more, adding a vertical accent to the back of a mixed border or wild garden from mid-summer to early autumn. Plants spread to about 3 feet.
This small deciduous shrub is covered in early spring with pink buds that burst open to reveal slightly fragrant, showy, flat-topped white flowers. Fleshy red fruit is borne in pendulous bunches in late August, darkening to all-black in October. Leaves fade to a dark maroon in the fall and winter months when planted in colder areas. Plants grow to about 5 feet tall and 8 feet wide. A cross between V. utile and V. × burkwoodii ‘Park Farm Hybrid’, this shrub is excellent as a foundation plant, as a specimen, in mass groupings, in a shrub border, or in containers. Evergreen to Zones 7 and 8.
This shrub has a compact, rounded form, growing 8-10 feet tall and wide. In early spring, it produces showy lipstick-red buds that open to white flowers. Once open, the flowers scent the air with their spicy, clove-like perfume for another two weeks. The glossy dark green foliage is handsome throughout the growing season and resistant to bacterial leaf spot and powdery mildew. Foliage turns orange-red in autumn.
This plant produces a myriad of tiny white flowers set in wide, stalked flower heads. The white flowers appear in early summer, then mature to egg-shaped berries that turn from green to creamy-pink, deepening throughout the summer and ending in a blue-black hue in autumn. Plants grow 12-15 feet tall and 6 feet wide.
There are some shrubs that will light up the fall garden with both leaf color and fruit. 'Winterthur' viburnum is one of those shrubs. It begins its display in late summer, as clusters of half-inch-diameter fruit begin to blush pink and become more intense over the course of a few weeks until the whole shrub looks bedecked in bubble gum. The fruit quickly change to a deep blueberry blue as the glossy, leathery leaves become infused with maroon and red. 'Winterthur' maintains a compact, 6-foot-round, multistemmed habit that produces abundant fruit and more intense fall color than the species. In late spring, it's covered with small, off-white, slightly fragrant flowers.
Doublefile viburnum is a horizontally branched, deciduous shrub native to China and Japan. Along its branches in mid-spring bloom double rows of flattened clusters of sterile florets, resembling lace-cap hydrangea flowers. Oval red fruit follows and ripens to black, often attracting birds.
Blackhaw Viburnum is a large shrub or small tree with clusters of creamy white flowers followed by pink-rose berries, which birds love to eat. Its distinctive bronze-green foliage on reddish purple stems turns blue-black in the fall. Blackhaw grows to 12 to 15 feet high and 8 to12 feet wide.
This vigorous, coarsely textured evergreen shrub has an upright habit and 8-inch-long, lustrous, deeply veined oval leaves with dark blue-green surfaces and pale green undersides. The leaf stems are fuzzy brown. In spring, fragrant creamy-white flowers bloom in clusters. Blue berries form in June and become plump through September, maturing to glossy black. Plants grow 10-15 feet tall and wide.
Alliums All Season Long
Deer resistant and dynamic, these bulbs provide color from the first showers of spring to the last leaves of fall
by Stephanie Cohen
Building Better Borders
Use plant combinations that focus on complementary colors, textures, and forms
PLANTING PLAN: A deer-resistant bed that shines in fall and winter
by Nancy Matthews
Q&A Economical edging for beds
by Kate Feely
Are Pressure Treated Woods Safe in Garden Beds?
by Phil Wood
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