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The "flowers" of black rose. are actually rosettes of burgundy-black leaves at the ends of stalklike stems. In winter, bright yellow flowers contrast with the dark foliage. 'Zwartkop' is a wonderful backdrop plant that can show off many companion plants to maximum advantage. -Jeff Moore, Regional Picks: Southwest, Fine Gardening issue #120
This dwarf cultivar has mid-green leaves and densely tufted plumes atop tall, upright stalks and arching mid-green leaves. Masses of silvery yellow plumes appear in late summer.
This is one of the exceptional Big Sky™ series (E. paradoxa crossed with E. purpurea), bearing fragrant, earthy-gold petals and golden orange central cones. These hybrids have all inherited the large green leaves, strong branching stems, wide flower petals, and profuse blooming tendencies of E. purpurea.
This is one of the exceptional Big Sky™ series (E. paradoxa crossed with E. purpurea), bearing fragrant, pale citron petals and green-maturing-to-copper central cones. These hybrids have all inherited the large green leaves, strong branching stems, wide flower petals, and profuse blooming tendencies of E. purpurea.
This small shrub from China is noteworthy for its spherical clusters of very fragrant yellow flowers that bloom in winter and early spring.
A member of the conifer clan, Ephedra equisetina is commonly called bluestem joint fir due to its finely textured blue stems. In spring, it features a conspicuous froth of yellow blooms that are often followed by red berries. It is perfect for naturalized areas since it reliably spreads.
This upright, evergreen shrub has stunning texture and form. Its gray-green leaves and woolly, purple-tinged stems form billowy, 4-foot long branches. From early spring to early summer, it produces giant cylindrical bract clusters in yellow-green with purple-black nectar glands, and creates a specimen that looks otherworldly.
This vase-shaped, deciduous shrub, up to 12 feet tall and wide, has ascending branches and bright green leaves that turn yellow in autumn. It produces large yellow flowers in mid- and late winter on the bare branches. A cross between H. japonica and H. mollis.
This witch hazel is an upright shrub up to 12 feet tall and wide, with oval, softly hairy, mid-green leaves that turn yellow in autumn. Fragrant flowers are yellow, with crimped petals, appearing on bare branches in mid- and late winter.
This vase-shaped deciduous shrub grows up to 12 feet tall and wide, with ascending branches and bright green leaves that turn yellow in autumn. Clusters of sulfur-yellow flowers appear in mid- and late winter.
The native common witch hazel is an understory plant that becomes leggy if it has to reach for light, but in the open, it develops into a graceful, spreading shrub about 20 feet tall. Its broad leaves turn a clear, bright yellow in the autumn. The abundance of pale yellow fall flowers that accompanies the foliage comes as a wonderful late-season surprise. The deceptively fragile-looking blossoms that appear near the end of October seem to keep winter at bay for weeks.
From late fall through winter, the leathery leaves of hellebores stay glossy, cheery, and green. Hybrids of H. orientalis and other species have a clump-forming habit and leathery leaves. They begin blooming in February or March in a range of shades, adding much needed color very early in the season. The blooms last for a very long time, especially if the weather stays cool. Hellebores are tolerant of summer heat and humidity. -Marty Hair, Regional Picks: Upper Midwest, Fine Gardening issue# 127
The early, long-lasting, sometimes fragrant blooms of this hellebore are borne in clusters in late winter to early spring. The pendent flowers are a muted yellow-green, often with purple margins, and have large pale green bracts. Helleborus foetidus has dramatic, deeply-cut foliage that holds up through the winter. Leaves smell unpleasant when crushed.
Lime-green to near-yellow flowers 1 to 2 inches across, with five petal-like sepals, are borne in loose clusters of three or four on leafy stems up to 20 inches tall. Blooms emerge in late winter or early spring, fading to pale green and lasting until seeds are ripe. There is great variation in fragrance, flower color and size, as well as leaf form, across different plants.
This is a small, upright, mounded, deciduous shrub with attractive, flaking reddish-brown bark on mature stems and striking, linear to oblong blue green leaves. Midsummer to early autumn, this plant bears golden yellow flowers with striking, bushy center stamens. Reddish-brown fruit capsules ripen in September and persist well into the winter. St. John's wort excels in the Midwest.
Dime-sized, drooping, bell-shaped yellow flowers have a faint anise fragrance, but they’re hidden under new foliage in June.
Few shrubs offer flowers as late as this one, which starts blooming in late October or early November. The upright, 10- to 12-inch-wide flower clusters last until January or February, then give way to long strings of dark purple fruit that the birds devour. The evergreen foliage is so architectural, 'Charity' would be a spectacular shrub even if it didn't bloom. Some years, the leaves turn red, but instead of relying on it, consider it a pleasant surprise when it happens.
Leatherleaf mahonia is a thick shrub with a formal feel. Its stiff, green-blue foliage looks something like holly foliage, and in spring, airy clusters of tiny, golden yellow flowers appear. These are followed in fall by inky blue berries. Consider this plant for a a mixed-shrub foundation planting, or use it as a hedge plant. -Nellie Neal, Regional Picks: Southeast, Fine Gardening issue #127
“Soft caress,” indeed! You’ll barely recognize this shade dweller as an Oregon grape when it sends up its long slender foliage without a single thorn. Its spikes of fragrant, lemon yellow flowers bloom from fall through winter, and will add a jolt to any shady bed. But the large clusters of silver-blue berries that follow the blooms are what I look forward to most. For the best results, give this drought-tolerant perennial afternoon shade, well-draining soil, and plenty of water the first year. -Leslie Finical Halleck, Fine Gardening # 147 (October 2012), page 74
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.
Conifers for Shade
Yes, you can grow evergreen trees and shrubs in shade. Who knew?
by Christine Froehlich
How to Prune Conifers
These plants are unforgiving, so make the right cuts for the right reasons
by Bert Cregg
VIDEO Potting Soil Recipe for Woody Plants and Perennials
This long-lasting mixture is the perfect medium for long-term plants
by Rita Randolph
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
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