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The early, long-lasting, sometimes fragrant blooms of this hellebore are borne in clusters in late winter to early spring. The pendent flowers are a muted yellow-green, often with purple margins, and have large pale green bracts. Helleborus foetidus has dramatic, deeply-cut foliage that holds up through the winter. Leaves smell unpleasant when crushed.
Lime-green to near-yellow flowers 1 to 2 inches across, with five petal-like sepals, are borne in loose clusters of three or four on leafy stems up to 20 inches tall. Blooms emerge in late winter or early spring, fading to pale green and lasting until seeds are ripe. There is great variation in fragrance, flower color and size, as well as leaf form, across different plants.
Hellebores begin blooming in mid-winter in a range of colors, adding much needed color very early in the season. They bloom when the temperature is below freezing, even amidst the snow. Protect from cold winter winds, especially when not insulated by snow, to avoid damaged foliage. Avoid ingestion of all plant parts and contact with the sap.
This hairless or slightly hairy perennial has over-wintering, leathery, deep green basal leaves each divided into 7 or 9 leaflets. From January until May, masses of white or greenish-cream flowers, becoming pink with age, appear on branched stems.
‘HGC Pink Frost’ is part of a new series of hellebores that, for the Midwest, bloom very early, some as early as January; this cultivar blooms a bit later, usually in March. The bud count is high, with buds coming out in February all along the plant stem. They start out a deep burgundy but open to soft pink, then age to earthy rose shades. Flowers rise above the foliage, so they are never hidden, and they face outward, creating maximum interest. -Irvin Etienne, Fine Gardening issue 147, page 72
Daylilies are classic, extremely popular garden plants. They feature long, arching, strappy leaves and long stems of generally 6-petaled flowers, though double flowers are popular as well. Each flower lasts only one day, hence the plant’s common name. Daylilies come in a wide range of colors, from cream and cheery yellow to peach, orange, fiery red, deep burgundy, pink, and purple. Some have contrasting throats and "eye-zones." Daylilies are ideal for a mixed herbaceous perennial border.
'Forsyth Lemon Drop' is lovely and cheerful daylily cultivar.
This bright yellow flowered daylily has a long blooming period, producing ruffled flowers over four or five months. Each flower opens for one day. It is a vigorous grower that may be the most widely grown daylily.
An early bloomer, liverwort has tiny, cup-shaped, blue, pink, or white flowers in spring. Three-lobed, mottled, mid-green leaves appear after the blooms.
A clump-forming succulent, red yucca has arching, leathery, linear foliage rising to between 2 and 3 feet tall. Dark olive-green leaves with no thorns or spines are sparsely covered with fibrous strands along the margins. Deep coral pink flowers with golden yellow throats crowd the length of the stalks that reach three feet or more. Foliage has a reddish bronze hue during winter's chill for year-round interest.
This plant is a biennial or short-lived perennial with leafy stems and 4- to 8-inch-long toothed, hairy leaves. Lilac or purple, sometimes white, flowers are borne from late spring to midsummer in racemes or panicles.
Bright lime green foliage and perky rose-colored flowers in spring make this plant a great selection. It turns a nice orange in autumn.
This heuchera has burgundy leaves splashed with silver and grows up to 16 inches tall and 18 inches wide. Pink flowers emerge in spring and rise to 26 inches tall. This plant performs well in both garden beds and in containers, where it makes a wonderful filler plant.
This heuchera, sold as Dolce® Blackcurrant in the U.S., has purple and silver leaves veined with black and grows up to 16 inches tall and 20 inches wide. While it flowers in early summer, it is grown primarily for its dramatic foliage and performs well in both garden beds and containers.
Heuchera 'Caramel' has H. villosa parentage, so it's more tolerant of heat and humidity that other heacheras. It has glowing, apricot-hued foliage that grows up to 12 inches tall and 20 inches wide. Pink flowers appear in spring. This plant performs well in both garden beds and containers, or as a groundcover when planted en masse. It may be evergreen on warmer climates.
Unlike many heucheras that are grown for their foliage, this heuchera is grown for its tall, large salmon-oink blooms on stems that rise 18 inches above the foliage in spring. The foliage is medium green and grows up to 12 inches tall and 18 inches wide. This cultivar prefers more sun than most heucheras but will tolerate some shade.
This heuchera cultivar has peachy-bronze leaves and spires of red flowers in late spring and early summer. It grows up to 16 inches tall and 20 inches wide. 'Crème Brûlée' performs well in both garden beds and in containers, where it mingles well with a multitude of plants. This cultivar is very tolerant of heat and sun.
'Crimson Curls' heuchera is fairly pest free, but it requires constant moisture to look its best. White flowers contrast with ruby-colored foliage that deepens in direct sun. 'Crimson Curls' flowers in late spring, and if deadheaded, will flower again by late summer. It needs too much water to grow well in containers. Instead, use it massed along a walkway or in a woodland bed. -Ron Smith, Regional Picks: Upper Plains, Fine Gardening issue #120
This heuchera has dusky purple leaves with charcoal veins, overlaid with silver between the veins. The plant grows up to 16 inches tall and wide. Pale pink flowers appear in spring. Great in garden beds and in container plantings.
Experts Pick Their Favorite Plants
We asked 42 gardening experts from around the country to select their favorite plants. Now you can see the complete results of the survey.
Conifers for Shade
Yes, you can grow evergreen trees and shrubs in shade. Who knew?
by Christine Froehlich
Sweetly Scented Annuals
Pique your senses all season long with colorful, long-blooming beauties
by Danielle Ferguson
4 Ways to Design with Coleus
If you're having trouble finding the right plant for the right place, this versatile performer offers a multitude of options
by Ray Rogers
How to Prune Conifers
These plants are unforgiving, so make the right cuts for the right reasons
by Bert Cregg
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