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Coneflowers have much to offer the garden, and now they have fragrance, too. 'Fragrant Angel' has large, sweetly scented flowers made up of two rows of white petals surrounding a greenish orange cone. The plants grow to 40 inches and attract butterflies. Grow them in a border, meadow, cottage garden, or cut flower garden.
Autumn olive is a vigorous, deciduous shrub with pale yellow-white bell-shaped flowers to a half-inch long borne in late spring and early summer. Its silvery fruit turns red in fall and attracts birds. Wavy-margined leaves are silvery when they emerge and mature to bright green above.
This plant has densely tufted, spreading clumps of strap-like, flowing foliage. Pale blue-gray leaves arch loosely. In summer, it produces stiff, upright, blue-gray spikes of flowers that turn buff.
From late spring until fall, Boer love grass puts on a glorious display as inflorescences that emerge silver and dry to gold dance up to 2 feet above the fine-textured clump of foliage. The show is shorter in humid climates.
This species produces very tall spires of pale pink flowers with yellow stamens atop leafless stems that puncture vertical space with unmatched elegance.
Wild buckwheats have assumed star roles in drought-tolerant landscapes throughout the West, and none is more useful than sulfur flower. It has wonderful evergreen foliage with brilliant blooms from late spring through late summer. Long-lived, this perennial is so adaptable that it also thrives in humid climates.
California poppies grow to about 12 inches tall, and their pretty foliage is ferny, like carrot tops. They come in a variety of colors, from the standard golden orange, to yellow, cream, and red. Grow them in a border or rock garden.
California poppies grow to about 12 inches tall, and their pretty foliage is ferny, like carrot tops. This cultivar has soft rose colored, double blooms with yellow centers.
This species boasts maroon-speckled stems and green flowers with maroon margins. The flowers occur on thick, solitary stalks bearing bottle-brush-like wands of tightly-clung florets, which are crowned by tufts of green bracts. As the common name implies, these unusual and magnificent inflorescences are reminiscent of pineapples.
This species boasts stems and undersides of leaves with maroon spotting, and white flowers tinged with maroon. The flowers form on 24-inch-long, thick stalks bearing bottle-brush-like wands of tightly-clung florets, which are crowned by tufts of green bracts. As the common name implies, these unusual and magnificent inflorescences are reminiscent of pineapples.
This bulbous perennial has striking reddish purple, strap-like leaves and foot-long purple flowers that resemble pineapples in late summer. Grow in a sunny border, container, or greenhouse. Plants used outdoors may be overwintered in a frost-free location. The species is native to South Africa.
This outstanding cultivar boasts dark burgundy leaves that slowly change to olive green, and then revert back dramatically as the flowers fade. The flowers form on 20- to 30-inch stalks bearing bottle-brush-like wands of tight, smokey pink florets, which are crowned by tufts of purple bracts. As the common name implies, these unusual and magnificent inflorescences are reminiscent of pineapples.
'Phantom' Joe Pye weed is an excellent 3-foot-tall perennial that was bred especially for smaller gardens and mixed containers. Plants have dark green, whorled foliage and handsome lavender to purple flower heads in late summer and fall. The blooms are darker when night temperatures are cool. Joe Pye weed attracts butterflies and other insects.
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.
With its woody stems and oval-shaped leaves, this perennial looks a lot like a tree. Like other members of the euphorbia family, it has milky sap and tiny flowers. Most of the appeal comes from the leaf color. dark burgundy on older leaves, a brighter red on new foliage. The foliage generally dies back in winter. -Jeff Moore, Regional Picks: Southwest, Fine Gardening issue #120
Long-lasting, terminal clusters of lime green bracts and flowers punctuate the meandering 'arms' of this ground-hugging species. The chalky seafoam foliage looks great spilling over a stone wall in a rock garden or at the edge of any bed.
This unusual looking plant has many succulent, pencil-like branches. The leaves are small and short-lived, and the flowers are insignificant. Euphorbia tirucalli can grow to almost 30 feet in the wild, but it can be used as a smaller specimen or container plant in the garden. It is hardy only in Zone 11.
An excellent shade tree, this European-native deciduous tree grows to 80 feet tall and 50 feet wide and features an upright, oval form and dark shiny green leaves that turn yellow to rust-colored in fall. Its spring flowers are insignificant, though the small nuts that follow are favored by birds and squirrels. This tree is slow-growing. Several cultivars are available, including those with differing forms and foliage colors.
Regarded by some as the bluest blue fescue, this plant forms compact, cascading mounds of foot-tall, intensely blue, narrow leaves that are attractive in all seasons. Blooms are generally secondary to the foliage, but this cultivar blooms more heavily than most, with spikelets in summer. This cultivar is long-lived and very hardy. Grow in groups in a border or rock garden, or as a groundcover.
These compact tufts of 8-inch-long powder-blue leaves are well suited for edging and naturalizing in the rock garden.
Building Better Borders
Use plant combinations that focus on complementary colors, textures, and forms
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Q&A Economical edging for beds
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by Phil Wood
4 Ways to Remove Sod
When starting a bed, choose the method that suits you best
by Steve Carroll
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