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This compact variety performs well as a groundcover and is an excellent choice for the mixed border or rock garden.
These short-lived perennials or biennials are charming plants, and are worth their weight in gold in the cottage border. After flowering, the attractive foliage holds the space well.
'Summer Sundae' Sweet William is a nice mix of red, pink, and white flowers held in rounded groups at the tops of stems. Plants bloom from late spring to early summer. The flowers are lightly fragrant. Use in a cottage garden or border, or in containers. It flowers the first year from seed.
This mat-forming species with dark green leaves is one of the easiest to grow. Blossoms range from white to red and are usually single and without fragrance. Use as bedding or in rock gardens.
This mat-forming species with narrow, dark green leaves is one of the easiest to grow. Blossoms with red eyes open in early summer and may rebloom if sheared back after flowering.
Rows of white flowers dangle above the fern-like foliage, opening in April and continuing intermittently until October.
This is a biennial or short-lived perennial, which may last longer and rebloom if deadheaded. It sports dramatic blossoms in contrasting colors in spires reaching six feet high in rich soil, but more likely to 3 or 4 feet.
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.
This cultivar of a native meadow coneflower has white, daisy-like flowers from early summer into early autumn. Its prominent, coppery-green, central cones are surrounded by large white ray petals that reach 4.5 inches long.
This evergreen shrub can light up the dark corners of a garden. It grows quickly, and its branches are arched and somewhat spiny. Bright yellow, 3- to 4-inch-long leaves splashed are outlined in green. The twigs are a metallic copper color, and the undersides of the leaves are specled with a copper color, too. Tiny white flowers appear under the leaves in fall. They are hard to see, but very fragrant. Small orange fruit appear in spring. -Michael Lee, Fine Gardening issue #119
Longspur barrenwort is a clump-forming, deciduous, rhizomatous perennial. Leaves, light green and flushed bronze when young, are heart-shaped with spiny margins. Four-petaled white, yellow, pink, or purple flowers, hanging in clusters, appear in mid- and late spring.
'Wudang Star' is a clump-forming, evergreen perennial with spiny, glossy foliage. New leaves emerge with bronzy pink edges before turning green in summer. Loose spikes of star-shaped white flowers, borne in spring, have prominent yellow stamens.
This species produces very tall spires of pale pink flowers with yellow stamens atop leafless stems that puncture vertical space with unmatched elegance.
'Profusion' fleabane is a carpeting, rhizomatous, woody-based perennial with lax, branching stems and abundant yellow-centered white flowers in summer. Blossoms fade to pink and purple. Foliage is hairy and grayish green. Excellent in containers.
This eastern U.S. woodland plant has clusters of small, fluffy white flowers topping stiff 3- to 5-foot-tall stems midsummer to frost.
This hybrid produces masses of pure white bracts above finely textured, apple green foliage. It adds stunning texture and color to a border in partial shade.
A native of South Africa, summer hyacinth sends up spikes of lovely white flowers in late summer amidst dark green, strap-like foliage, when many other perennials are done blooming. The tall spikes are fragrant and especially dramatic planted with darker foliage or flowers.
This gardenia cultivar features a very tight, upright form that is perfect for smaller gardens. It also boasts increased cold tolerance while maintaining the lustrous dark green foliage and abundant fragrant blooms you’ve come to expect from this genus.
This North American wildflower is a bushy, clump-forming, vase-shaped perennial with lance-shaped or spoon-shaped, toothed leaves on slender, wand-like stems. Leaves may be occasionally spotted with maroon. Loose panicles of 4-petaled white flowers open only a few at a time and fade slowly to pink, blooming from late spring to early autumn.
This stunning shrub blooms all year in some climates. A fast grower, its large, moonlight-colored flowers and finely divided, gray foliage are a must for any southern-temperate garden. Frost and drought tolerant once established, it attracts bees and hummingbirds and makes an excellent screening shrub.
Q&A Ground covers to avoid
by Nancy Ondra
Planting Ground Covers
Proper spacing and regular care are the best ways to create a lush, weed-free carpet
by Mary Hirshfeld
Flowering Ground Covers
To blanket an area small or large, these are the perennials to pick
by Nancy Ondra
Great Plants for a Fall Cutting Garden
Rely on colorful, long-stemmed plants to keep your vases filled as the season winds down
by Suzanne McIntire
Dividing a ground cover
by Liana Mackey
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