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This North American native is unrivaled in beauty for its pendulous and diaphanous clusters of fragrant white blossoms, which appear in May or June. The individual blossoms are made up of four petals that dangle from threadlike stems in great silken clusters. The leaves are late to emerge in the spring, and this species flowers before leafing out. Female specimens produce blue-black fruits in autumn.
'Sundance' Mexican orange blossom is an evergreen, compact shrub with white, fragrant flowers borne in late spring, and again in late summer and autumn. Groups of three little leaflets give the young yellow-green foliage a pleasing pattern, while the waxy, glossy texture adds a luminous quality.
There would be few cut flowers blooming in October were it not for hardy garden mums. Their clusters of flowerheads show over a long period and are available in many colors, including red, orange, yellow, white, and lavender.
Goldenstar is a creeping groundcover with long, reddish-green leaf stalks and opposite, heart-shaped, hairy mid-green leaves. From early spring to summer, it bears solitary, star-shaped yellow flowerheads with 5 large, triangular ray florets.
From May to October, this perennial bears bright yellow, daisylike flowers on leafy stalks. It spreads by rooting runners to form an attractive groundcover that is easily controlled. This variety differs from the species in its more prostrate form and its more rapid spread.
'Mark Viette' is a clump-forming, handsome 6-inch tall plant with thick, semi-evergreen deep green leaves and perky 1-inch flowers of buttercup yellow.
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.
This low-growing, spring-blooming succulent touts 5-petaled, pale-pink striped flowers with strap-like foliage that continues to grow after bloom but disappears in late spring when the plants go into dormancy. It can literally carpet the ground in early spring, giving the impression of a light dusting of snow. Its flowers open when the sun is out and close when it is cloudy.
'Ernest Markham' is a vigorous, late-flowering climber with abundant small flowers in summer. Blossoms are rich magenta, 4 inches across, with blunt-tipped sepals and light chocolate anthers.
'Nellie Moser' is easy to grow, producing large, flat flowers 6 to 8 inches in diameter with distinctive, gleaming lilac bars on each petal. This clematis blooms from May to late June, with a second, less profuse bloom in mid-August. Planted in a shady spot, the cheery pink-and-mauve-striped blossoms last for weeks instead of days.
Alpine clematis is one of the earliest clematises to bloom, in early May. It bears relatively small but delightful nodding, bell-shaped flowers, 1 to 1.5 inches in diameter, in a great variety of colors.
Clematis integrifolia is a herbaceous, woody-based, upright, non-climbing perennial with a dense and somewhat sprawling habit. It bears solitary, nodding, bell-shaped flowers with slightly twisted violet to blue sepals and creamy white anthers from May to July. Sporadic blooming sometimes occurs throughout the summer. Blossoms mature to attractive, feathery, silver-green, or silvery brown seed heads.
Clematis integrifolia is no longer only blue. This selection produces progeny with pink, white, and lavender blooms from midspring until late summer. The flowers are followed by attractive seed heads in fall. It has a compact, herbaceous form and grows to just 10 to 14 inches tall.
Downy clematis is a hardy, deciduous early bloomer that can flourish in Zone 4. The species will climb to 10 feet with a little support, and it has bell-shaped, purple-blue, almost columbine-like flowers about 1 to 2 inches, sometimes up to 4 inches in diameter, that mature to fluffy, pinkish seed heads. Blooms appear in spring and early summer, sometimes followed by a second flush in late summer to early autumn
'Golden Tiara' is a vigorous, late-flowering climbing vine to 15 or 20 feet tall with intense golden-yellow, bell-shaped flowers that eventually fully open to reveal crimson filaments. It blooms profusely from midsummer to late fall. The seedheads are fluffy and attractive in their own right. Native to western China.
This deciduous, late-flowering twining vine with deep green leaves and profuse, fragrant white flowers is easy to grow and will thrive and bloom in shade. Star-shaped blossoms are 1 inch across, appearing from late August to October and maturing to attractive, plume-like seed heads. The shiny green foliage is leathery.
This vigorous climber can easily cover a support of 8 to 10 feet tall once established. Finely textured, dense light-green foliage makes an excellent foil for dainty, pink and carmine teardrop-shaped flowers 2 inches across. Blooms appear in early August and continue well into autumn.
'Alba Luxurians' is a very tough, late-flowering climber with small flowers that open from midsummer to late autumn. White blossoms are sometimes faintly tinged with mauve when young, and are open, bell-shaped, single, and 2 to 3 inches across. Foliage is slightly gray-green.
This large shrub offers a late-summer display of jasmine-like white flowers encased in red tepals and scent. Bright blue berries in autumn are accented by conspicuous bright, pinkish-red calyxes.
Larger in all respects than common sweet pepperbush (Clethra alnifolia), this sizable shrub or small understory tree grows 8 to 12 feet tall and wide. In early summer, long, slender racemes composed of small ivory flowers appear, then give way to peppercorn-shaped seed capsules that swoop out from the branch tips in fall. About the same time, lance-shaped leaves become a glowing golden yellow before falling to reveal the reddish brown bark. The bark peels in small, irregular patches in the fashion of sycamores (Plantus occidentalis) to expose a dusty gray under-bark. Cinnamon clethra is a good choice for a woodland garden, where the tiered branches and elegant stems look captivating against new fallen snow.
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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