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Of the maybe 10,000 named dahlias introduced in the 1800s—when dahlias ranked right up there with roses in popularity—only three survive. One of them is 'Kaiser Wilhelm', introduced in 1892. Its 3-inch flowers have neatly curled petals of soft custard-yellow brushed with burgundy, and a green button eye just like that of an old rose. The plant can grow to 5 feet.
The pink-and-cream dinner-plate-sized 'Kidd's Climax' of 1947 has 10-inch flowers atop 4-foot-tall plants.
If you like the combination of peach and pink, you'll love 'Myrtle's Folly', whose narrow, twisted petals of deep pink and light orange mature to reveal a yellow center. Perhaps too ungainly to use as a border plant, 'Myrtle's Folly' will provide a reliable supply of flowers that look perfect in a vase. -Alastair Gunn, Dahlias that deliver, Fine Gardening issue #121
This new dahlia has gorgeous, bright yellow blooms that pop against its rich, dark purple (nearly black) foliage. 'Mystic Illusion' is well branched and makes a strong statement in beds, borders, and containers.
A charming choice, 'Pooh' has orange-red petals with gold and lemon-colored petal-like sepals. Plant this dahlia toward the back in a border, where its small flowers on tall stalks will be sure to stand out. -Alastair Gunn, Dahlias that deliver, Fine Gardening issue #121
For a change of pace, 'Zorro' looks fantastic floating stemless in a bowl of water. The ruffled petals accentuate the dark red hue. Staking is a must to prevent the stems from flopping beneath the weight of its huge and heavy blooms. Pinch back the young shoots to promote branching and sturdier stalks. 'Zorro' consistently produces quality tubers for division and, as such, is the perfect cultivar to start (or sustain) a dahlia collection. -Alastair Gunn, Dahlias that deliver, Fine Gardening issue #121
This stunning specimen has luminous, creamy-ivory leaves and narrow green margins. The pale pink flowers are secondary to the glamorous foliage, which can light up a shady border and create definitive contrast.
This celebrated hybrid is notable for its green leaves with golden-yellow margins that fade to cream. Its deep-pink buds open to pale, pink-white blossoms in early spring and give off a sweet fragrance.
This rounded shrub has leaves with white margins, and pale pink star-shaped flowers that bloom in the spring, fall, and sometimes in between. The blossoms release an intoxicating fragrance.
This evergreen species produces rose-purple buds that open to white and are intensely and exotically fragrant. The blooms (from mid-winter to early spring) are followed by red fruit and dark-green, glossy leaves.
This winter daphne has yellow-margined leaves and rosy-pink flower buds that open to white. Fragrant flowers bloom in winter and early spring. Reaching 4 feet tall and wide, 'Marginata' is beautiful against a wall or near a patio or deck where its fragrance can be appreciated. Or grow in a shade garden where its variegated leaves really shine. Daphne odora is evergreen and has a rounded form. It is native to China and Japan.
Darmera's flower stalks emerge from the ground on naked stems in spring, and are followed by cupped, rounded but indented leaves up to 24 inches across. The foliage forms a lovely, vase-like clump, 4 feet tall and 3 feet wide. The flower clusters are composed of many 5-petaled, starry, pink or white florets with conspicuous stamens. This native of the western U.S. is found growing along woodland stream banks, and helps to add a tropical look to temperate gardens. Darmera makes a distinct and long-lasting foliage statement in moist conditions, and exhibits autumn color also.
Datura metel grows 3 to 4 feet tall with large dark green leaves that have a bad smell. However, the large trumpet-shaped flowers have a sweet fragrance that spreads throughout the garden in the morning and evening. Flowers may be single or double and range from white and yellow to pink and purple.
This small perennial blooms in summer with cup-shaped, waxy flowers that have numerous yellow stamens. Use Deinanthe in a shade garden, a woodland, or a rock garden.
Covering itself with glowing fuchsia daisy-like flowers with many narrow petals, 'John Proffit' makes a beautiful groundcover or container plant. The succulent foliage looks like it has small pieces of ice on it (hence the name "ice plant') and is evergreen in warmer climates. Growing to only a few inches tall, it can spread almost 2 feet wide. It blooms from late spring to early fall.
'Blue Bird' is a Pacific Hybrid delphinium grown as an annual or biennial. Its mid-blue flowers have white centers. The flowers are large but short-lived and bloom on tall stems from early summer to midsummer. Grow at the back of a border or in the middle of an island bed. There is nothing quite like delphiniums in the garden.
Belonging to the Belladonna Group hybrids, this delphinium bears loose, branched spikes of intense blue flowers with soft white edges. It may rebloom if deadheaded. The cultivar name pays homage to the resemblance of the flower color to Delft pottery.
The parent of the regal hybrid Delphiniums, the species has 3- to 4-foot-tall spires of blue, violet, lavender, or white flowers. It usually requires staking.
A tuft of thin grassy foliage with gray and gold variegation distinguishes this cultivar. Early summer brings 3-foot-tall, airy plumes of tiny flowers that look beautiful when backlit by the sun. As fall approaches, the foliage turns golden with pink-coral tips. This grass even grows well in shadier sites. Plant in a border, woodland garden, or shaded rock garden.
This compact variety performs well as a groundcover and is an excellent choice for the mixed border or rock garden.
10 Outstanding Succulents
Skip the finicky selections and go for these unique yet reliable beauties
by Maureen Gilmer
Potted plants keep flower beds looking their best
Potting Soil Recipes
Cook up your own container mix that is suited to your plants
by Daryl Beyers
Potting Soil Ingredients
Here's a breakdown on some common container soil ingredients
by Daryl Beyers
VIDEO Potting Soil Recipe for Cacti and Succulents
Perfect drainage makes this recipe succeed
by Jeff Moore
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