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As its name might indicate, 'Guacamole' has avocado green, veined foliage with darker green margins. This hosta forms large, dense clumps and thrives in partial shade, where the sun can brighten the leaf centers. In late summer, 3-foot-tall flower stalks emerge, bearing fragrant, lilylike white blooms. -Matt Griswold, Regional Picks: Northeast, Fine Gardening issue #127
‘Halycon’ is a wonderful blue hosta that holds its strong leaf color all season. Its textured, blue-green leaves are thick enough to be slug resistant. Bell-shaped, pale lilac flowers are followed by seed heads that attract birds late in the season. 'Halcyon' grows fairly slowly. It can be used as either a ground cover or a specimen plant. -Jane Hutson, Regional Picks: Midwest, Fine Gardening issue# 127
'June' hosta has bluish leaves with irregularly shaped creamy gold centers. Pale lavender flowers bloom in late summer on 20-inch spikes. This medium-sized plant is a standout in shade or woodland gardens. It was the American Hosta Growers Association "Hosta of the Year 2001".
With hefty, chartreuse-flared leaves, ‘Lakeside Shore Master’ hosta commands attention. Performing best in shade, it will tolerate some sun in our cool New England climate. Please don’t let the name fool you, however, into giving it a soggy spot; wet feet turn hostas into mush. This cultivar also sports thick leaves, which are fairly slug resistant. -Justin Nichols, Fine Gardening 147, page 70
A fast grower, 'Little Aurora' has cupped, puckered leaves and a metallic sheen, with soft-lavender flowers from late June into early July.
'Patriot' is one of the few hostas that can really take the heat. It's a tough plant with relatively large leaves, and their white edges shine in the shade the shade. In midsummer, lavender flowers appear on tall spikes. -Lou Anella, Regional Picks: Southern Plains, Fine Gardening issue #127
A robust, clump-forming perennial, 'Piedmont Gold' has prominently veined, wavy-margined, bright-gold leaves 10 inches long by 7 inches wide. It reaches an average height of 18 to 25 inches tall and 40 inches wide. White flowers on 26-inch stems appear in midsummer.
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.
'Sun Power' is a clump-forming perennial with oval to heart-shaped, yellowish green leaves below funnel-shaped, pale-lavender to white flowers in midsummer.
A clump-forming perennial with flat-spreading, blue-colored leaves, Japanese rock hosta bears funnel-shaped white flowers, sometimes flushed with purple, on arching, leafy scapes 24 inches long.
'Elegans' is a large hosta with deep, smoky blue, slightly frosted heart-shaped foliage. Deep veins give the leaves a corrugated look. White flowers bloom in early spring. Though slugs love hostas, this one is usually spared. -Sue Whetten, Regional Picks: Rocky Mountains, Fine Gardening issue #127
This vigorous vine quickly reaches 20 feet tall and thrives on neglect. The greenish yellow, conelike flowers smell like beer. It can scramble along the ground or grow up screens and trellises.
'Aureus' is a fast-growing, twining perennial with roughly hairy shoots and deeply lobed, maple-like leaves in a luminous, clear shade of yellow. Clusters of subtle, fragrant, greenish yellow flowers add texture in summer and mature to pendent, papery, cone-shaped fruits.
Creamy, six-inch flower heads form flattened spheres above heart-shaped leaves from June through frost.
Exceptional and enormous creamy flowerheads up to one foot across form billowy, flattened spheres that withstand the rain well. Leaves are large and downy.
Hydrangea arborescens is a southeastern U.S. native shrub with a rounded habit to 5 feet tall and domes of creamy white flowers over a long period beginning in early summer. The cultivar 'Grandiflora' has larger, showier flowerheads than the species. They grow to 6 to 8 inches across.
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 compact shrub bears attractive deep green leaves and large, rounded flower heads of deep pink in neutral soil, and intense violet-blue in acidic soil.
This re-blooming mophead features inflorescences ranging 4-6 inches wide. Their color will be pink or blue depending on aluminum availability in soil. Compact habit with glossy dark green leaves.
This is a well-loved and vigorous cultivar with large, rounded flower heads of a rich, gorgeous blue.
10 Outstanding Succulents
Skip the finicky selections and go for these unique yet reliable beauties
by Maureen Gilmer
Alliums All Season Long
Deer resistant and dynamic, these bulbs provide color from the first showers of spring to the last leaves of fall
by Stephanie Cohen
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
Q&A Economical edging for beds
by Kate Feely
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