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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 spreading, deciduous shrub grows 15 to 25 feet tall and blooms in late spring to late summer, with white fragrant blossoms. Site where the slightly nodding flowers with rich rose-red stamens can be seen from below.
This species is a small, spreading tree with lovely, upward-facing, star-shaped blossoms. Each pure white flower—they are occasionally flushed pink— is 5 inches across and comprised of up to 15 individual petals. They light up the tree's bare branches in early to mid-spring.
Few shrubs offer flowers as late as this one, which starts blooming in late October or early November. The upright, 10- to 12-inch-wide flower clusters last until January or February, then give way to long strings of dark purple fruit that the birds devour. The evergreen foliage is so architectural, 'Charity' would be a spectacular shrub even if it didn't bloom. Some years, the leaves turn red, but instead of relying on it, consider it a pleasant surprise when it happens.
Leatherleaf mahonia is a thick shrub with a formal feel. Its stiff, green-blue foliage looks something like holly foliage, and in spring, airy clusters of tiny, golden yellow flowers appear. These are followed in fall by inky blue berries. Consider this plant for a a mixed-shrub foundation planting, or use it as a hedge plant. -Nellie Neal, Regional Picks: Southeast, Fine Gardening issue #127
“Soft caress,” indeed! You’ll barely recognize this shade dweller as an Oregon grape when it sends up its long slender foliage without a single thorn. Its spikes of fragrant, lemon yellow flowers bloom from fall through winter, and will add a jolt to any shady bed. But the large clusters of silver-blue berries that follow the blooms are what I look forward to most. For the best results, give this drought-tolerant perennial afternoon shade, well-draining soil, and plenty of water the first year. -Leslie Finical Halleck, Fine Gardening # 147 (October 2012), page 74
A 2-foot-high evergreen shrub native to the woods and woodland edges of the Pacific Northwest, mahonia gives a shady area three seasons of interest. Erect racemes covered with clear yellow flowers rise from the plant's leaf axils or from the main stem tip in spring. In contrast to these upright blooms are long, elegant, compound leaves made up of leaflets with spiny edges. In fall, some leaves turn a lovely wine-red. During summer, clusters of berries mature to dark blue with a powdery whitish coating.
Mazus reptans is a mat-forming perennial with rosettes of lance-shaped toothed leaves. It spreads quickly through rooting stems. From late spring to mid-summer, it bears 2- to 5-flowered racemes of snapdragon-like purple-blue flowers with lower lips spotted with yellow and red.
Honey bush has attractive, 12- to 20-inch-long pinnate leaves with sharply toothed silver-green leaflets. It bears spike-like racemes of oddly scented brownish crimson to brick-red flowers from late spring to midsummer.
This clump-forming perennial has light blue to purplish blue pendulous flowers that open from pink buds atop 16- to 24-inch stems in mid- to late spring. Elliptic to ovate, hairless, bluish green leaves yellow and die back once the flowers fade after about 10 days.
This deciduous, monoecious, coniferous tree grows to 100 feet tall. Its oddly shaped, branch-pitted trunk is often deeply fluted and "buttressed" and has orange-brown bark. Attractive, lacy foliage is bright green in early summer, turning golden bronze before falling in autumn. Female cones are light brown and ovoid, while male cones are rounder, pendent, and darker brown.
A Michelia hybrid, bred in New Zealand by Mark Jury, with beautiful lightly fragrant flowers blushed lilac pink and evergreen dark green foliage. It is ideal as a specimen shrub or as a hedge.
Variegated Japanese silver grass is a boon in any garden where fine texture, a gentle color scheme, and a bit of swaying in the wind are welcome. This grass can be used as a focal point, an anchor plant, or even as a privacy screen.
This elegantly shaped grass has narrow leaves with white mid-ribs and a vase-like form to 6 feet tall. It shows bronze autumn color and can stand throughout winter to provide architectural interest. Tassel-like inflorescences appear in fall and can be used as cut or dried flowers.
This beautiful grass has an "inner light" that emanates from the white midribs of its fine-textured leaf blades and the threads of white around their edges. A graceful shape usually between 5 and 6 feet tall, ‘Morning Light’, turns golden in November and fades to beige in winter.
In autumn, this unique specimen creates a spectacular, billowy inflorescence of massed, vibrant pink, airy flowers on 4-foot stems. It is noted for its tolerance to poorly drained soil. It is possibly hardy to Zone 6 with protection.
This beautiful warm-season grass produces attractive, pale purplish-gray plumes in autumn and goes dormant in the cold season. It forms a neat, upright clump with fine blue-gray foliage.
Attractive, glossy, fan-shaped leaves and creamy white bell-shaped flowers are borne in dense panicles for several weeks in spring. After flowering is complete, green leaves turn a rich burgundy color with reddish orange highlights on their margins.
Grape hyacinths are hardy, easy to grow, and have long-lasting blooms--no garden should be without them. They are particularly spectacular when allowed to naturalize, whether under trees, along a pathway, tucked into ground covers, or in a bed.
These double-flowered grape hyacinths are a good candidate for beds and borders because they increase only by division. They also bloom longer than those that hasten through spring eager to set seed. April-flowering 'Blue Spike' has the largest inflorescence of the species, with fully double flax-blue fluffy heads (each pedicel carries multiple individual flowers instead of one) and narrow, linear leaves.
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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