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This tree has lobed leaves that are green on top and gray-white beneath. It turns bright red in autumn. Its form can be round to open-headed.
The textural quality of this eastern native's stems and foliage is superb. During winter, a circle of the thorn-covered stems is as magical as an outdoor sculpture. Dark blue-green compound leaves offer a tropical effect before turning yellow and purple in autumn. One-foot-wide flower clusters sit atop the foliage in summer and transform into purple-black fruits that attract birds. Aralia spinosa grows to 30 feet tall and spreads indefinitely.
This ground-hugging succulent perennial roots at the nodes, has a creeping habit, and often forms deep mats covering large areas. It produces abundant yellow daisy-like flowers that open at noon and turn pink later in the day.
This stunning evergreen conifer can be a very large specimen tree (to over 100 feet) in the landscape. Its young, silvery foliage turns vivid glaucous blue as it ages; the sharply pointed leaves are arranged in whorls. Female cones are green and can be up to 4 inches long; they ripen slowly over 2 years to pale brown. This tree needs a lot of space to reach its majestic potential.
This spreading, deciduous tree native to Japan and China has a rounded form and rounded, redbud-like leaves. It grows to 70 feet tall and 50 feet wide and sports brilliant red, apricot, and yellow fall color. Early spring flowers are insignificant. This attractive tree makes an excellent specimen. 'Pendula', a weeping form, is this species' most popular cultivar.
Yellowwood is a vase-shaped spreading tree with dark green foliage that turns a delicate yellow or orange in the fall and smooth light gray bark. Breathtaking, pendulous, foot-long, wisteria-like clusters of fragrant white flowers appear in late spring and early summer, often in alternate years.
A spreading subshrub, Cornus canadensis has whorls of leathery mid-green leaves that turn purple in the winter. Green and white, sometimes pink-flushed flowers emerge in late spring and early summer, followed by clusters of scarlet berries.
This rounded, deciduous tree with spreading, tiered branches is especially dramatic in the landscape. Its branches stand out in winter while the leaves, edged in a bold creamy white, add superb color and texture to the garden. In early summer, single white flowers are borne in large, flattened clusters up to 7 inches across. Blue-black fruit follows in autumn, attracting birds.
This fern's lacy foliage smells of freshly mown grass and carpets the woodland or a moist, partially sunny site. The green lushness turns golden in the fall. It is a good choice for rapid naturalizing. Use in a woodland garden or near water features.
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.
Large, paddle-shaped leaves with prominent veins make this tree a standout in containers outdoors or as a houseplant. Native to topical regions of western and central Africa, fiddle-leaf fig has leathery, glossy, evergreen leaves and round fruit. In the wild, it can reach 100 feet tall and almost as wide, but its size is easily controlled in containers. It was a popular houseplant in the 1950s and 60s.
Honey locust grows in the wild from Pennsylvania to Iowa and south to Georgia and Texas. In the landscape, this large, spreading, deciduous tree is valuable for its elegant form and pinnate, ferny leaves that cast a dappled shade. Flowers are generally inconspicuous, but are followed by unusual large seed pods. Fall color can be a nice yellow, but leaves sometimes fall without noticeably changing colors. The species has a thorny trunk and shoots, but thornless cultivars are available.
This erect, evergreen large shrub or tree reaches 40 to 50 feet in height and 20 to 40 feet wide. Leathery dark green leaves have pointy, scalloped edges. Small green berries appear in late summer, maturing to crimson by autumn and persisting through the winter. Some ripen to yellow or orange. Use American holly as a specimen tree or in a woodland garden.
‘Pink Chablis’ has pink flowers above silvery gray leaves edged with dark green. These trailing plants make fine ground covers or cascaders.
Creeping Jenny is a low-growing, rampant, evergreen groundcover with rounded leaves. In summer, it produces many cup-shaped, bright yellow flowers.
Golden creeping Jenny is a low-growing, rampant, evergreen groundcover with rounded, golden yellow leaves. In summer, it produces many cup-shaped, bright yellow flowers.
This cultivar creates a fragrant cloud of rich bubblegum-pink blossoms on bare branches in spring. It grows to 40 feet tall and wide.
This deciduous species has remarkable leaves that are over 3 feet long and 1 foot wide. They are light green above and silvery beneath. It flowers in early summer with creamy-white, fragrant blossoms that reach a foot across. Magnolia macrophylla grows up to 40 feet tall and wide. It is native to North America.
This easy-to-grow, pest-resistant pear resembles a Bradford pear in size and shape, with profuse white blooms in spring and great crisp fruit. There are 30 cultivars.
This large, fast-growing tree has droopy leaves that stay sunny yellow from spring until frost, spiny shoots, and fragrant white flowers in late spring and early summer on pendent racemes. The flowers are followed by smooth brown seed pods that are also interesting. 'Frisia' is one of the cultivars that is grown more for foliage than for its flowers and it does not flower as freely as the species.
10 Outstanding Succulents
Skip the finicky selections and go for these unique yet reliable beauties
by Maureen Gilmer
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
Q&A Ground covers to avoid
by Nancy Ondra
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