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Tulipa ‘New Design’ (1974) has pink-bordered leaves and silvery pink, 14- to 20-inch-tall blooms flushed yellow with pale fuchsia tips. This bulb is easygoing and long-lived.
Reaching 20 to 24 inches tall, Tulipa 'Silverstream' has chartreuse and yellow flowers suffused with red-and-rose markings that create a watercolor effect. The foliage has distinct cream-colored edging. Grouping these in a garden with a pastel palette would have driven Monet viridian with envy.
This named variety of the species has soft sulfur-yellow flowers up to 3 inches across. The spring blossoms sit 4-6 inches high, surrounded by wavy-edged, gray-green foliage that reaches 8-10 inches tall. Species tulips prefer sharp drainage and plenty of room to grow. Most do well in rock gardens, small displays, and containers.
The 12-inch-tall Tulipa 'Calypso' (1992) is known for being reliably perennial. It has decorative stippled leaves and large orange-red flowers rimmed with primrose and a black base.
Known for being reliably perennial, Tulipa ‘Oratorio’ (introduced in 1952) blooms in midspring and has splayed, flashy maroon-mottled leaves. It is a standout in the garden from the moment the exquisite heavily striped leaves emerge. Its dazzling 14- to 16-inch-tall coral pink flowers are an added bonus.
Tulipa 'Red Riding Hood' (introduced in 1953) is a true beauty, with flowers that are scarlet red inside, carmine outside, and black at the base. They float above richly striped foliage on 10- to 12-inch tall stems.
This bunch tulip has multiple orange-red flowers that bloom in spring above green leaves edged in creamy white. A species tulip, it is more likely to bloom in subsequent years. It reaches less than a foot tall and is stunning planted en masse.
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 attractive, easy-care, 6- to 8-inch semi-evergreen groundcover boasts leaves that emerge bright green, then darken with age, creating a two-toned effect. In mid- to late spring, distinctive white blooms dangle on wiry stems, resembling an umbrella blown inside-out by a sudden gust of wind. The flower's stamens jut forward like a beak.
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.
'Georgia Blue' forms beautiful mats of purple-tinged leaves. In spring, this free-flowering groundcover boasts abundant iridescent blue flowers. It grows to about 9 inches high and a foot wide. It is a vigorous and easy-to-grow cultivar.
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.
Building Better Borders
Use plant combinations that focus on complementary colors, textures, and forms
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