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A botanical giant, 'Sum and Substance' averages 30 inches tall by 60 inches wide, sometimes more. Upright, heart-shaped, flat leaves have a glossy chartreuse hue that changes to gold when exposed to more light. Near-white lilac blooms borne on leaning scapes 36 inches long appear from late July through mid-August.
This is one of the most widely recognized species of hydrangeas. It boasts a plentiful number of cultivars. The species is divided into two groups: the Hortensias (or "mopheads") have globe-shaped flowers made up of large male flowers, and the Lacecaps have flattened flower heads, with central, female blossoms ringed in larger, male blossoms.
This is a well-loved and vigorous cultivar with large, rounded flower heads of a rich, gorgeous blue.
'Tardiva' is a late-flowering (early to late autumn) cultivar with loosely-packed, sharply pointed white flower heads that turn purplish-pink with age. It is a vigorous, fast growing deciduous shrub that reaches 8 to 12 feet tall.
'Unique' bears 8-inch-long white flower heads that fade to pinkish white. It is similar to, but more vigorous than, Hydrangea paniculata 'Grandiflora'. The cultivar name refers to the shape of the flower heads; they are broad at the base and rounded at the tip.
This cultivar produces 8-inch-long, conical flower heads from early summer on. It is as notable for its distinct, deeply lobed leaves as for its reliably showy, creamy blooms. The foliage produces outstanding fall color and the flowers take on purplish-pink hues when dried.
This cultivar has large flowerheads of intricate double blossoms layered on top of one another. It is as notable for its distinct, deeply lobed leaves as for its reliably showy, creamy blooms. The foliage produces outstanding fall color, and the flowers take on purplish-pink hues as they dry.
Blue holly, so named for the glossy blue-green leaves, is a dense, vigorous shrub that can reach 15 feet tall and 10 feet wide. Insignificant flowers bloom in late spring. Female plants have glossy red fruit. There are many cultivars available.
This dense, evergreen holly reaches 6 to 10 feet tall and at least as wide. The species is rarely used in landscapes, but there are many cultivars available with more interesting shape and color. This plant grows slowly, but can be invasive. Its dark green leaves are lustrous and the black fruit is hidden beneath them, so it is not obvious as in other hollies. Use Japanese holly in foundation plantings, hedges, beds and borders, or formal gardens.
Dime-sized, drooping, bell-shaped yellow flowers have a faint anise fragrance, but they’re hidden under new foliage in June.
Anyone who has grown beautybush knows that it puts on a spectacular pink flower display in late spring and then it goes incognito the rest of the year. This new beautybush, however, commonly known as Dream Catcher™, dazzles the eye with unforgettable, golden yellow foliage that turns to a striking golden orange in fall.
This dioecious shrub has much to offer the garden. Male plants have showier, tiny, pale yellow flowers in early spring, but the female counterparts take center stage in early fall, when they're laden with half-inch-diameter berries that turn from green to yellow to high-gloss crimson. About the same time, the leaves turn a hypnotic soft yellow and make the red berries visually pop. Spicebush becomes a large, 5- to 8-foot-tall shrub that is slightly wider than tall. It is the preferred food for the black and blue spicebush swallowtail butterfly larvae.
With some of the darkest foliage you'll encounter in the genus Loropetalum, 'Carolina Midnight' is a great new introduction that will add some purple punch to the garden. The flowers are like dark fuchsia fireworks in a sky of purple. It is a great substitue for purple smoke bush (Cotinus coggygria) in the South.
This upright, sparsely branched, woody shrub reaches 4 to 10 feet tall. It's easy to grow but slow-growing. It displays dark green leaves that are blue-green beneath, and large, silken blossoms 6 to 12 inches across in late spring and early summer. The plants maintain a graceful branching structure throughout the winter.
This massive herbaceous shrub needs a lot of room to show off its vase-shaped form, but it does not spread or self-sow like some of its relatives. It blooms close to the ground from June and continues throughout the summer atop 6-foot-tall stems. The large, white, astilbe-like blossoms fade to pink and then reddish-brown as the season comes to a close.
This clumping bamboo is native to eastern and central China and can reach 15 feet tall and almost as wide. After two or three years, slender green culms turn a lustrous black. The foliage is abundant and dark green, making a stunning combination with the stems. Grow as screening, in large containers, or in a woodland setting where the stems can be appreciated.
With its upright, arching branches and dark chocolate to purple foliage, Diabolo® ninebark offers a color contrast with silver-leaved plants and makes a fine backdrop hedge. Clusters of button-like, pinkish white flowers appear in summer. Even when they fade to a tawny tone, they stand out nicely against the dark leaves. -Chris McKernan, Regional Picks: Lower Plains, Fine Gardening issue #120
This neat, rounded shrub has given rise to many noteworthy cultivars. It grows to 12 feet tall and 10 feet wide, producing drooping clusters of delicate white blossoms in winter and spring. Use this shrub in a woodland, rock garden, container, or as a foundation plant.
A bushy, deciduous, slow-growing shrub with finely textured, scalloped leaves, this plant grows to 12 feet tall and almost as wide. 'Asplenifolia' bears clusters of green flowers, followed by round red fruit that ripens to black in the fall. Grow in a shrub border or as hedging. All parts may cause severe discomfort if ingested.
This is considered one of the best white flowering currants, bearing long-lasting, pendent racemes of pungently spicy, pure-white blooms. Its yellow autumn leaves fall to expose mahogany stems in winter, which later make a striking contrast to chartreuse flower buds in spring. It grows to about 10 feet high and wide.
10 Outstanding Succulents
Skip the finicky selections and go for these unique yet reliable beauties
by Maureen Gilmer
VIDEO Potting Soil Recipe for Cacti and Succulents
Perfect drainage makes this recipe succeed
by Jeff Moore
Building Better Borders
Use plant combinations that focus on complementary colors, textures, and forms
VIDEO A Collector's Paradise
Intuitive design turned a lifelong passion for succulents into a destination garden north of San Diego
by Patrick Anderson
PLANTING PLAN: A deer-resistant bed that shines in fall and winter
by Nancy Matthews
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