2017 Garden Color Forecast
Driven by the latest fashion report, we are showcasing these on-trend colors as they relate to all aspects
of the design world. For 2017, the colors chosen blend perfectly with the great outdoors and into the elements that
inspire us as gardeners.

Cinnamon Girl™ distylium

Think of this little shrub as a colorful, more interesting alternative to boxwood and other plants decimated by insects and diseases in certain parts of the country. Cinnamon Girl™ has plum-purple new growth, which turns glaucous as the leaves mature. The fine textured foliage gives this plant a more refined overall look.

Kniphofia uvaria

These tall spikes top off the perennial border with a burst of tropical-red racemes. The fine foliage makes the base of the plant equally attractive.

Sedum rupestre 'Angelina'

This vigorous, mat-forming, evergreen species has electric golden-yellow foliage that holds its color through the heat of summer. The foliage tips sometimes develop an orangey hue. In June and July, 'Angelina' has terminal clusters of star-shaped, vibrant yellow flowers. The drooping buds face upward when they open and the plant can grow to 6 inches tall and 12 inches wide. It is superlative as a groundcover, spilling over rock walls, and in containers. It also makes an excellent accent for plants with dark foliage.

Sorghastrum nutans 'Indian Steel'

Golden yellow plumes and a vase-like form give 'Indian Steel' a refined look. On the flower spikes, bright yellow pollen sacs stand out against the darker seed heads. Metallic blue foliage morphs to a coppery tan shade after frost. 'Indian Steel' tolerates a range of soil types, including heavy clay. -Scott Vogt, Native grasses, Fine Gardening issue #124

Salvia azurea

Pitcher sage is a wonderful wildflower found growing over a wide area of the Great Plains. Blooming in late summer and early fall, this perennial is admired for its sky blue flowers and remarkable xeric qualities. This salvia grows to 30 to 36 inches in height, but may be pinched back for bushier growth.

Camassia leichtlinii ssp.suksdorfii 'Blue Danube'

Spikes of violet, star-shaped flowers top stems reaching from 2 to 4 feet in late spring. The species is native to western Oregon. 'Blue Danube' would be beautiful in a border, meadow, or containers. Camassia make good cut flowers.

Lychnis coronaria and cvs

Gray-green, spear-shaped leaves form a low, tidy, circular mound about 1 foot in diameter. This plant puts on a dazzling show of five-petaled magenta flowers on straight stalks about 2 feet high in mid-spring. 

Corydalis flexuosa 'Blue Panda'

The first of the coveted blue corydalises to be introduced, it produces fragrant clusters of long-spurred, azure flowers on a compact plant. 

Penstemon nitidus

This penstemon produces azure flowers—the color of a New Mexico summer sky. Blooms emerge in late April and may get covered with a late snow, but that doesn’t seem to bother them. Also boasting beautiful gray-blue foliage, this plant grows 6 to 10 inches high.

Centaurea montana

Mountain bluet is an excellent choice for the border or rock garden. Blue flowers open from attractive buds in late spring to midsummer, then leave behind a mass of vigorous, silvery-green woolly foliage and woolly stems.

Caryopteris × clandonensis 'First Choice'

'First Choice' is ideal for a mixed or shrub border. It's an attractive woody shrub with dark green leaves, dark purplish blue flowers, and a compact habit. Misty blue flowers appear in late summer and early autumn.This plant is relatively drought tolerant and very heat tolerant. The shrub expands as branches that touch the ground form their own roots and may self-seed.

Bountiful Blue® Blueberry

An award winning variety with the bluest foliage of all! Pink-blushed flowers produce a large crop of large, sweet, juicy berries on a compact, mounded shrub. Perfect for massing in the landscape or featuring in large tubs. Self fertile, though planting another variety may yield a more prolific harvest. Requires just 150-200 winter chill hours. Semi-evergreen in mild climates.

Anagallis monellii

In summer, this colorful groundcover makes a 9-inch mound of saucer-shaped, deep blue flowers on long stalks.

Hydrangea macrophylla 'Nikko Blue'

This is a well-loved and vigorous cultivar with large, rounded flower heads of a rich, gorgeous blue.

Centaurea cyanus

Bachelor's buttons bear charming and prolific flowers in hues of blue, pink, lavender, white, and maroon. Those with a true blue color are especially welcome in the garden as that color is rare in nature. Each disc-shaped flower is about 1.5 inches across, with ragged petals radiating out from the center.

Salvia farinacea

This perennial forms a shrubby upright clump 2 feet tall by 1 foot wide, with white mealy stems and glossy green leaves. It bears deep, lavender-blue flowers on tall spikes from early summer to frost. Salvias are some of the showiest plants for containers, annual borders, and mixed borders. Butterflies and hummingbirds love them. 

Ceratostigma plumbaginoides

This lovely herbaceous species is versatile and undemanding. It is the star of the late-summer garden with its spiky bright red flower buds and vivid blue flowers, displaying long-lasting mahogany red foliage in fall. Spreading slowly via underground runners, this long-lived plant makes a solid mat with erect, slender red stems and bright green leaves.

Delphinium 'Blue Bird'

'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.

Caulophyllum thalictroides

This plant's three-lobed, veined leaves are dark purple when they emerge and later turn green. Greenish brown or yellowish brown flowers appear in mid- and late spring, turning into waxy blue berries that dangle beneath the leaves.

Dwarf Purple Willow

This willow has a lovely matte finish with slender blue-green leaves that are amazingly free of the insect or disease problems so common in other willows.

Solenostemon scutellarioides ‘Trailing Bleeding Heart’

The 14-inch-tall cultivar ‘Trailing Bleeding Heart’ has hot fuchsia-pink leaves ringed with purple and a band of lime green.

Clematis 'Picardy'

A clematis doesn’t have to be big to be bold. Picardy™ (‘Evipo024’) epitomizes this rule; its compact habit certainly doesn’t restrain the boldness of the vivid, violet-red flowers. This is no shrinking violet! Picardy™ is free flowering and often reblooms into late summer. Topping out at 5 feet tall, its petite size is suitable for containers and for small patios where larger clematis would be overwhelming. -Richard Hawke, Big blooming clematis, Fine Gardening issue #146, page 47


Sedum spectabile

An upright species to 18 inches tall and wide, this plant bears pink flowers in August that persist into fall. Thick, almost succulent leaves are bluish green. S. spectabile was crossed with S. telephium to create the very popular 'Autumn Joy.'

Dianthus gratianopolitanus

This compact species forms broad mats of blue-gray linear leaves and is perfect for a rock garden setting. The purplish-pink flowers are solitary, toothed, and deliciously fragrant. 

Salvia pachyphylla

Giant-flowered purple sage has been winning over gardeners the past few years for its remarkable summer blooms and tough-as-nails demeanor. Native to the dry foothills and mountains of southern California, this sage is considered a woody shrub. It features showy, aromatic silver foliage and bicolored flower spikes with lavender-purple calyces and long, hummingbird-pollinated blue flowers. It grows from 24 to 36 inches high.

Gaura lindheimeri

This North American wildflower is a bushy, clump-forming, vase-shaped perennial with lance-shaped or spoon-shaped, toothed leaves on slender, wand-like stems. Leaves may be occasionally spotted with maroon. Loose panicles of 4-petaled white flowers open only a few at a time and fade slowly to pink, blooming from late spring to early autumn.

'Old Fashioned' smokebush

When designing a garden, we are encouraged to think of the foliage first. A strong backbone of interesting leaves in the garden will hold a design together, even when flowering plants are not at their peak. However, we can quickly find ourselves in a foliage frenzy, choosing exciting leaves in every color from purple and chocolate to lime and rich gold, with spots and splatters or stripes and streaks.

Jazz Hands® variegated Chinese fringe-flower

All you can say about the flowers and foliage this shrub sports is, “Wow.” The purple leaves appear to be splatterpainted with white, pink, and light green, giving the entire plant a mottled appearance. When the bright magenta flowers emerge in late spring to early summer, it looks like this medium-size shrub has decided to put on its own fourth of July fireworks show.

Monarda didyma

Bee balm, a clump-forming perennial, bears minty-scented scarlet, pink, or purple flowers in midsummer on branching, square stems. Leaves are aromatic as well. This native of eastern North America attracts hummingbirds and butterflies.

Astilbe chinensis var. pumila

This is a dwarf astilbe with attractive red-green leaves and reddish pink flowers in broad, dense conical groups. Its blooms appear mostly in summer.

Dicentra formosa

Don't let its delicate appearance fool you: Western bleeding heart is hardy and tenacious. This elegant, herbaceous perennial spreads slowly from rhizomes to form drifts of soft blue-green, ferny foliage in shady woodland areas. Above the leaves in late spring, pink heart-shaped flowers hang gracefully from long, arched stems, attracting scores of hummingbirds but not the local deer. It is surprisingly drought tolerant during the summer months.

Geum triflorum

This prairie native bears nodding, pinkish-maroon flowers in spring, followed by seed heads that resemble wisps of cotton candy and connote the plant's common name. The upright, ferny foliage is beautiful, and can be evergreen in mild climates. 

Lantana camara 'Pink Caprice'

The pale pink and yellow flowers of this evergreen perennial attract butterflies from late spring to frost. Lantana camara  is mostly grown as a summer annual, but can be overwintered in a cool, dark location.

Euphorbia griffithii 'Fireglow'

'Fireglow' bears conspicuous bracts in vivid orange-fuchsia in early summer. It has red stems and dark green leaves, which emerge in spring with a reddish tinge.  

Agastache aurantiaca 'Shades of Orange'

A cultivar discovered at High Country Gardens in Santa Fe, New Mexico, this aromatic, water-wise perennial grows to 30 inches tall and 18 inches wide and features fine, mint-scented, gray-green leaves and spikes of tubular flowers in shade of orange from mid-summer to fall. The plant is hugely attractive to hummingbirds, hence the common name.

Papaver nudicaule

Iceland poppy is a short-lived perennial usually grown as a cool-weather annual, or biennial. From hairy tufts of linear blue-green foliage rise wiry stems bearing a pendant bud. The single (occasionally double) short-lived flowers unwrinkle their petals into a wide-spreading saucer shape 3 inches across.

Asclepias tuberosa

Butterfly weed is a native perennial with flat-topped, orange or yellow flower clusters at the ends of its stems or in its leaf axils. From midsummer to autumn, it produces clusters of brightly colored flowers that attract insects, followed by fruit and showy seed. Plant in a border, meadow, butterfly garden, or wildflower garden.

Gaillardia 'Arizona Sun'

This 2005 All-America Selections® winner is a cultivar of our native blanket flower. It covers itself in large reddish flowers with yellow edges up to a month earlier than other gaillardia. Growing to just about a foot tall and wide, it is beautiful at the front of a border.

Nova™ 'Dragonfire' Crocosmia

Finally, here's a crocosmia that won't flop. The short, compact habit of this variety allows it to stay upright throughout the growing season.

Sedum kamtschaticum

This tough, drought-tolerant species has glossy deep green leaves and, in early summer, half-inch golden yellow flowers that open from pink buds. It grows to about 6 inches tall and a little wider and makes a good groundcover. 

Hosta 'Aspen Gold'

Perfectly round, puckered, bright-gold leaves have a pattern resembling seersucker fabric. Pale-lavender flowers appear in early summer.

Asarum canadense

The rounded, lustrous leaves of this native plant form an appealing green ground cover. This plant produces beautiful, 2- to 4-inch, glossy green heart-shaped leaves. In spring, you'll find interesting, mauve-purple flowers hidden under its foliage. -Marty Hair, Regional Picks: Upper Midwest, Fine Gardening issue #127

Cephalotaxus harringtonii 'Prostrata'

This slow-growing dwarf conifer has a wide, rounded crown and narrowly furrowed, partially peeling bark. Needles, 1 to 1.5 inches long, are arranged on V-shaped ranks on each shoot.

Dryopteris × australis

This dramatic fern diplays 4-foot-tall arching fronds that form impressive clumps with age. It is a hybrid of two native ferns and makes a wonderful groundcover.

Pelargonium 'Crystal Palace Gem'

'Crystal Palace Gem' was first introduced in 1869 and has been a star in the garden ever since. It was named for Joseph Paxton's elaborate glass house designed in 1851 for London's Great Exhibition in Hyde Park. Like its namesake, the plant is showy, with its round chartreuse leaves with a midgreen center and its salmon-red flowers. 'Crystal Palace Gem' looks good from spring until frost. -Marty Wingate, Plants to know and grow, Fine Gardening issue #120

Cosmos bipinnatus cvs.

Cosmos are branching annuals with ferny foliage and pink, crimson, or white flowers that work well in the back of a border. Although introduced in 1799, cosmos did not beome popular for the garden or as the subject of breeding efforts until the early 1900s. The rest is now history. The variety 'Sensation' won the All-American Selection Award of Merit in 1936 for its clear colors of pink and white, on early-blooming, 3- to 4-foot-tall plants. 'Purity' is the glistening white form of cosmos in the 'Sensation' series. 'Sea Shells' has quilled florets. The Sonata Series cultivars are dwarf plants only growing to about a foot or two tall.

Hosta 'June'

'June' hosta has bluish leaves with irregularly shaped creamy gold centers. Pale lavender flowers bloom in late summer on 20-inch spikes. This medium-sized plant is a standout in shade or woodland gardens. It was the American Hosta Growers Association "Hosta of the Year 2001".

'Sun Mouse' hosta

Think of this as the flamboyant cousin of the popular ‘Blue Mouse Ears’ hosta. ‘Sun Mouse’ has great vigor, quickly forming a wide clump of thick, slightly wavy, golden foliage. It holds the lemon-lime color well throughout the season. Lavender flowers appear in early summer, but play second fiddle to the glowing foliage.

'Tropical Storm' elephant ear

Compact, quick to clump grower that will reach about 30" tall. Each dark, black-purple leaf is marked by a creamy-white blaze in the center. Talk about high contrast! Colocasia 'Tropical Storm' thrives in rich, moist soil where it will put on a shocking show all summer long. Elephant ears love heat and moisture. Excellent as the focal point in a container or in very shallow water at the edge of a water garden. The white blaze does not show on young plants, so don't be alarmed if your plant is solid black when it arrives. Give it heat, fertilizer, lots of water, and time to do its thing.


'White Gold' bleeding heart

If this plant doesn’t brighten up your shade, you’re doing something wrong. The golden leaves beautifully highlight the bright white flowers in spring. Vigorous growth means this perennial should bulkup quickly in its first season.

Mirabilis jalapa

This bushy perennial has oval, deep green leaves on branched stems. In summer, blooms appear: fragrant red, pink, magenta, yellow or white flowers with a delicate, faded-vanilla aroma. Flowers open in late afternoon and die by morning.

Saruma henryi

Saruma henryi is as sublime as it is uncommon. Its velvety leaves and distinctively shaped, soft yellow flowers make it a superb specimen in a shady border, where it can contrast with more finely textured plants.

Stewartia pseudocamellia

A multi-stemmed, deciduous tree with a rounded columnar form, stewartia features stunning bark that exfoliates in strips of gray, orange, and reddish brown once the trunk attains a diameter of 2 to 3 inches. Serrated foliage emerges bronzy purple in spring, develops into a dark green by summer, and turns red or orange in the fall. In midsummer, "glamorous" white camellia-like flowers open in random succession and are followed by pointed brown seed pods, which are persistent but not very ornamental.

Muscari neglectum 'Valerie Finnis'

This graph hyacinth is a tall, brilliant powder-blue showstopper that shows beautifully with pink-cupped daffodils. Its namesake, Valerie Finnis, was a famous British plantswoman and photographer. 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.

Echinops ritro

This compact species has cobweb-like, woolly foliage. The unique spherical flowerheads appear steely blue before maturing to a brighter blue. The late summer flowers add charm of form and texture to a mixed border.

Agapanthus Blue Storm

Compact, easy care and drought tolerant, Blue Storm is one of the Storm™ series of agapanthus that produce more flower stems than any other agapanthus.   In fact, Blue Storm flowers on average 10 weeks per season (up to two to three weeks longer than most other varieties). -Anthony Tesselaar Plants

Muscari azureum

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. This species blooms early, in March in some areas. It has sky-blue frilled bells with indigo stripes. Although the blossoms aren't long-lived, they self-sow freely, providing more flowers to enjoy the following year.

Hydrangea serrata

This species was formerly grouped with the Lacecap hydrangeas because of its flattened flowerheads that consist of central, small florets surrounded by showy, larger florets. It is similiar to H. macrophylla but is a more compact plant with smaller flowers and leaves.

Nigella damascena and cvs.

Love-in-a-mist-bears delicate flowers 1.5 inches across in various shades of blue and white, surrounded by finely divided foliage. Blooms appear mainly in May and June, and sporadically throughout the summer, followed by attractive 1-inch-wide green seedpods that change to cream and burgundy over time.

Hosta kikutii 'Hillbilly Blues'

A clump-forming perennial with flat-spreading, blue-colored leaves, Japanese rock hosta bears funnel-shaped white flowers, sometimes flushed with purple, on arching, leafy scapes 24 inches long.

Festuca glauca 'Elijah Blue'

These compact tufts of 8-inch-long powder-blue leaves are well suited for edging and naturalizing in the rock garden. 

Ipomoea tricolor and cvs

Morning glory is a fast-growing, twining annual with heart-shaped light to mid-green leaves and vibrantly colored, funnel-shaped flowers to 3 inches across. Cultivars include white-colored ‘Pearly Gates’; ‘Heavenly Blue’; crimson-colored, white-throated ‘Crimson Rambler’; and ‘Flying Saucers’, a batik-looking blend of white and blue accented by a golden throat.

Brunnera macrophylla

This woodland plant is valued for its flowers and groundcovering leaves. Terminal clusters of delicate blue flowers appear in spring. 

Ceanothus americanus

Mountain sweet is a low-growing, broad, compact, deciduous shrub. Dark-green leaves are irregularly toothed, 2 to 3 inches long, and softly hairy or nearly hairless beneath. This plant bears profuse white flowers in 1- to 2-inch-long terminal clusters.

Calluna vulgaris 'Spring Torch'

'Spring Torch' gets its name from the vibrant color of its new growth in spring. The mid-green leaves are tipped in shades of cream, orange, and red. Later in the summer, mauve-pink flower spikes cover the plant and last into the fall. As cold weather sets in, leaves acquire bronze or purple tones, adding further interest. This small, mounding evergreen shrub makes a good groundcover or rock garden plant. Bees love it. Different cultivars are beautiful woven together in the garden to form a colorful tapestry.

Sedum 'Postman's Pride'

'Postman's Pride' sedum is a wonderful dark-foliaged plant for sunny, dry locations. It has a semi-upright habit and produces masses of red to purple flowers from late summer through fall. The flowers attract honeybees and butterflies. Like other sedums, 'Postman's Pride' is useful in rock and xeriscape gardens because, once established, it thrives without irrigation except during severe droughts. Curious about the cultivar name? This plant was discovered by a Belgian postal carrier in his garden. -Ron Smith, Regional Picks: Upper Plains, Fine Gardening issue #120

Kalmia latifolia and cvs.

This U.S. native shrub has glossy, dark green leaves. Bowl- or cup-shaped pink to white flowers are borne in large clusters from late spring to midsummer. Cultivars include white-flowered 'Pristine', suitable for Zone 8; red-budded, pink-flowered 'Olympic Fire' and 'Sarah'; compact 'Elf' and 'Minuet'; and, for Zone 5, red-budded ‘Nathan Hale’ and 'Ostbo Red'.

Alcea rosea

This tall, upright perennial has single flowers of various colors that grow along a spike. It blooms in early summer and midsummer.

Lilium 'Casa Blanca'

Often used by florists and for weddings, 'Casa Blanca' lily has large, pure white, scented flowers.

Abelia × grandiflora

This is a rounded, semi-evergreen shrub to 10 feet tall and 12 feet wide with glossy, dark green leaves. From midsummer to autumn, it produces fragrant, funnel-shaped white flowers that are tinged with pink.

Bouteloua gracilis

Blue grama is a perennial grass from the Americas bearing unusually bent and flattened inflorescences. Being native to open grasslands, they are drought tolerant and at home in meadows. They provide the garden with shades of tan that persist throughout winter. 

Deschampsia cespitosa 'Northern Lights'

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.

Saccharum ravennae

This large, clump-forming grass has linear leaves with central white stripes. In late summer it bears huge, purplish-bronze flower clusters, which eventually fade to silver. It resents high fertility and shows considerable drought tolerance.

Heuchera 'Geisha's Fan'

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.

Calamagrostis × acutiflora 'Karl Foerster'

Versatile, attractive and care-free ornamental grass with wheat-like appearance. Slender, upright, deep-green, lustrous foliage becomes effective by early spring and lasts all the way until winter. A cool season grass, 'Karl Foester' is upright and clump forming, with purplish-green, feathery plumes to 6'. It distinctively blooms in early summer rather than fall and must have winter chill to bloom. Long lived -- 25 years or more. -Santa Rosa Gardens

Heuchera micrantha var. diversifolia ‘Palace Purple'

Clump-forming perennial features a mound of maple, or ivy-like, long-petioled leaves (3-5" wide) which are an attractive deep purple above and beet red beneath. Foliage color may fade to a bronze green in hot summers. Tiny, pinkish white, bell-shaped flowers in open, airy panicles are borne on slender, wiry, dark red stems extending well above the mound of leaves typically to a height of 15-24" in late spring to early summer. Attracts hummingbirds to the garden! They look especially good used around the edge of a border. -Santa Rosa Gardens

Alstroemeria 'Casablanca'

'Casablanca' Peruvian lily is the closest to white that this genus has gotten as of yet. Inside its amaryllis-shaped white flowers, reddish dashes on a yellow wash and a pale pink throat add interest. 'Casablanca' is also taller than most other Alstroemerias. They make great cut flowers and are frequently used by florists; they also add a tropical feel to beds and borders. Roots are very brittle and care should be taken when planting.

Achillea millefolium 'Apricot Delight'

'Apricot Delight' has deep reddish apricot blooms that then mature to a pale salmon, and they harmonize well with other colors. 'Apricot Delight' has a long blooming season (from early to late summer, with deadheading). This cultivar is smaller than most yarrows, and the blooms make nice cut flowers. -Allan Armitage, Plants to know and grow, Fine Gardening issue #121

Thymus 'Pink Ripple'

In early- to mid-summer, this mat-forming thyme erupts with masses of 6-inch-high spikes covered with pink flowers. The light green, tiny foliage, hugging the ground in mats, has a pleasing lemon fragrance when crushed. This plant shines when spilling over stone walls or between the cracks in paving stones, where passersby can tread on the leaves and release the lemony scent.

Daphne × transatlantica ‘Jim’s Pride’

This small shrub to 3-4 feet tall and wide blooms from late spring to fall with a liberal sprinkling of small, white, highly fragrant flowers over grey-green leaves that form a fine-textured mound. This shrub is semi-evergreen. It will retain some of its leaves in winter, though in colder climates it may be completely deciduous.

Hibiscus 'Kopper King'

A hardy hibiscus, 'Kopper King' has leaves that are a coppery red on top and orange-red underneath. Large (10 to 12 inches across) ruffly white to pale pink flowers bloom from midsummer to mid-fall if you deadhead. 'Kopper King' dies back to the ground in autumn and is late to break dormancy in the spring. It should be interplanted with spring bulbs and overplanted with winter annuals; that way you'll get color year round without disturbing the hibiscus. -Pat McKernan, Regional Picks: Lower Plains, Fine Gardening issue #120

Anemone × hybrida 'Richard Ahrens'

This beautiful, vigorous, pale pink, semi-double-flowering anemone starts blooming in early July into September on 28- to 36-inch stems.

Thalictrum aquilegiifolium

The lacy leaves of this meadow rue look like a columbine's, hence the common and scientific names. But the leaves are actually gray-green and more delicate than its namesake. It bears clusters of long-lasting cottony flowers in shades of lilac, purple, or white in early summer. It is suitable for naturalizing in a meadow or woodland. These perennials grow to about 3 feet tall and half as wide.

Ampelaster carolinianus

This perennial vine sends out abundant pale purple to lavender flowers beginning in late October. It grows to 4 to 5 feet tall, and frost does not seem to impede the blooms. It can attract bees and butterflies well into November.

To get the best flower display, give climbing aster as much sun as possible. It should also have something to lean on, like a fence, a trellis, or an ornamental shrub. Don't prune it over the winter, no matter how dead it may look. It’s better to wait to tidy up things after the new growth appears in spring.

Astilbe chinensis 'Maggie Daley' ('Maggie Daley' astilbe)

In late spring, lavender-pink flowers rise above this plant’s lacy, fernlike foliage, which forms an airy network beneath. The blooms appear a bit later than typical for other astilbes, and they extend later into summer. ‘Maggie Daley’ is moderately drought tolerant once established. Pair it with Japanese painted fern ( Athyrium niponicum var. pictum , Zones 5–8) for a beautiful combination. And deer and rabbit resistance is the pièce de résistance! -Kielian DeWitt, Fine Gardening #147 (Octover 2012), page 76

Fritillaria imperialis

This species draws much attention with its striking gaiety of color and form. Its large, bell-shaped flowers in shades of orange, yellow, and red dangle from tufts of shiny green leaf bracts. Sitting atop sturdy, 3-foot stalks, the flowers make a surprising and regal statement in the late spring garden.

Geum ‘Mango Lassi’

This evergreen perenial grows to 4 to 16 inches tall and 12 to 24 inches wide and blooms from late spring to fall (with deadheading) with double flowers in shades of apricot and buttery yellow.

Bignonia capreolata 'Tangerine Beauty' ('Tangerine Beauty' cross vine)

A better-behaved cousin to the less-than-polite trumpet vine, cross vine is a colorful solution for a fence or arbor with afternoon shade. Although this east Texas native is slow to establish, ‘Tangerine Beauty’ sports brighter, showier flowers than other cultivars and will reward your patience with loads of orange blooms in both spring and fall. Flowers bloom on old wood, so prune this vine immediately only after blooms fade. -Leslie Finical Halleck, Fine Gardening #147 (October 2012), page 74

Narcissus 'Tahiti'

Although some people don’t consider double or peonylike daffodils classics, many double hybrids have been in existence for a long time. N. ‘Tahiti’ (1956, Zones 3–8) has a soft-yellow flower with bright reddish-orange interior ruffles is reminiscent of a blossom from the tropics. ‘Tahiti’ stands up straight under its own weight, even on windy days. Its coloration is eye-catching, so it makes a big impact in the garden.

Campsis radicans

Trumpet creeper is a vigorous climber with clusters of  trumpet-shaped orange to red flowers from late summer to autumn.

Stylophorum diphyllum

Celandine poppy is an eastern U.S. native wildflower with attractive leaves and flowers. It prefers moist, shady areas and will naturalize in a site it likes. Leaves are bluish green, deeply cut, and lobed. Summer brings bright yellow, poppy flowers in small clusters. Use in a woodland, border, or rock garden. It may become weedy.

Forsythia spp. and cvs.

Its blaze of yellow flowers is surely one of the first harbingers of spring. Forsythia are widely recognized for their utility in a shrub border, a bank, or for hedging, and their light to deep yellow, four-petaled flowers.

Calibrachoa Superbells® Lemon Slice

From Proven Winners: The unique bicolor pattern of white and bright yellow has never been seen in a Calibrachoa, and it is sure to capture your attention.

Pentas lanceolata 'New Look Red'

Red star-shaped flowers with small white centers bloom atop erect stems from spring to autumn. This evergreen perennial or subshrub is often grown as a summer annual. It generally stays under 2 feet tall in the garden, but the species can reach over 6 feet tall in the wild. Grow in a bed or border, or in containers.

Nicotiana sylvestris

This thick-stemmed annual or short-lived perennial reaches 5 to 6 feet tall, forming a large basal rosette of dark green leaves to 36 inches long. Lightly fragrant, long and tubular white flowers dangle in dense clusters from atop the tall stems. This plant starts blooming in late July or August. Flowers close in full sun.

Spiraea nipponica ‘Snowmound’

This fast-growing, upright specimen has very attractive small, blunt, dark blue-green leaves and arching branches. Bowl-shaped, pure white flowers are borne midsummer in large numbers. They attract butterflies. 

Tulipa praestans 'Unicum'

This bunch tulip has multiple orange-red flowers that bloom in spring above green leaves edged in creamy white. A species tulip, it is more likely to bloom in subsequent years. It reaches less than a foot tall and is stunning planted en masse.

Tithonia rotundifolia 'Torch'

'Torch' is a quick-growing annual that produces vivid red or orange-red dahlia-like flowers from mid-summer on. Its leaves are somewhat attractive, being dark green and lobed. Plants can reach up to 6 feet tall and 2 feet wide in just a few months. 

Hemerocallis 'Brazilian Orange'

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.

Hamelia patens

A tropical tree by design, the Mexican fire bush freezes to the ground in winter in Zones 8-11, but grows up to 5 feet tall by summer's end. The erect, branched, woody stems bear simple copper-toned leaves with small orange flowers bunched along the tips. It loves the heat, and the more you can give it, the more vigorous it will be.

Loropetalum chinense ‘Chang Nian Hong’

Easy to grow and sun loving, Ever Red® Loropetalum offers beautiful dark burgundy foliage that retains its color through hot summer months. It also features the reddest tassel-like blooms ever seen on a loropetalum.  

Dahlia 'Bed Head'

'Bed Head'  is a tall plant with 4-inch-wide salmon-colored blooms with an unusually tangled appearance. It flowers less abundantly than many other dahlias, but is striking nonetheless. 'Bed Head' is a lush grower that benefits from strong staking. Plant it at the back of the border, and show it off as a cut flower in a vase. -Alastair Gunn, Dahlias that deliver, Fine Gardening issue #121

Crocosmia 'Star of the East'

To put it in perspective, ‘Star of the East’ crocosmia is as far removed from the well-known ‘Lucifer’ crocosmia as Lady Gaga is from an Appalachian clogger. ‘Star of East’ is a strong grower without being aggressive, starting the season off with attractive green leaves that are held verti­cally. The foliage remains upright and in good condition well into fall, which isn’t always the case with other cultivars. The flower stems are exceptionally sturdy, too, and they need to be because they bear some of the largest flowers of any crocosmia—nearly 4 inches in diameter.
In late summer, deep orange flower buds emerge like tubes of lipstick from protective bracts. The flowers open widely with a glowing, soft orange face highlighted by a pale center. A surprisingly long bloom period is a bonus, the blossoms perfectly mixing with the other hot colors of late summer and then seamlessly blending into the warm oranges and yellows of autumn.

Muscari aucheri 'Blue magic'

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. 'Blue Magic' has a true-blue hue and is great for forcing.

Amsonia montana 'Short Stack’

Chalk up another great plant introduction from the folks at Plant Delights Nursery in Raleigh, North Carolina. This dwarf blue star grows to only about half the size of the species, making it well suited for gardens with limited space. It performs best in full to partial sun and is appreciative of moist, well-drained soil. The sky blue flowers appear in early spring above the clean, dark green foliage. Try planting 'Short Stack' in a mess and along bed edges for a winning display.

Potentilla fruticosa 'Gibson's Scarlet'

This clumping, bushy perennial bears clusters of single, extremely vibrant red flowers all summer. The saucer-shaped flowers often attract butterflies. 'Gibson's Scarlet' is very hardy and tolerant of most soils.

Papaver orientale 'Flamenco Dancer'

The 4- to 6-inch-wide blooms of 'Flamenco Dancer' poppy stand out in late spring and early summer with their true red color and fanciful fringes. It is a sport of the popular 'Turkenlouis'. After the flowers fade, this perennial will go dormant, so plant it near neighbors that will fill the vacancy.

Lycoris radiata (Red spider lily)

Red spider lily’s brilliant red flowers remind me of an azalea’s ball truss. Blooms fade quickly in hot weather, but a higher degree of shade helps them last a while longer. Depending on where it grows in the Southeast, red spider lily blooms from early September to mid-October. After the bloom stalks fade away, foot-long, strap-shaped leaves emerge and last through winter. Red spider lily is an heirloom bulb that is easily passed from hand to hand. Replant offsets as the leaves die in spring. -Parker Andes, Fine Gardening #147 (October 2012), page 71

Lonicera sempervirens 'Major Wheeler'

This remarkably-versatile vine will climb your highest trellis or create a carpet of red splendor on your garden floor. Wherever planted, Major Wheeler’s showy blooms are a magnet for hummingbirds and butterflies. -American Meadows

Gladiolus 'Atom'

A glad for people who would normally never grow them, 'Atom' is about half the size of regular varieties, growing to at most 3 feet tall. This 1946 classic blends easily into perennial borders, and it won't get lost because its flowers are blazing red cooled by a thin, silvery edge.

Cuphea llavea Totally Tempted™

Totally Tempted™ cuphea  has nonstop, bright red summer flowers that don't need deadheading. It doesn't mind summer heat and has a more compact habit than most cultivars in this species, growing to just a foot tall and a little wider.

Coreopsis rosea 'Mercury Rising'

Large, velvety-red blooms bring long-lasting, dramatic color to the garden from early summer into fall. This easy-to-grow beauty is deer resistant and perfect cut for summer bouquets! -American Meadows

Chaenomeles × superba ‘Texas Scarlet’

One look at ‘Texas Scarlet’ flowering quince in bloom and most gardeners are instantly sold. Though the display only lasts a week or two in early spring, the sight of the tomato-red flowers is unforgettable. During the rest of the season, ‘Texas Scarlet’ remains a wave of glossy green leaves that reaches 2 to 3 feet tall in the toughest of conditions.

Tropaeolum majus 'Vanilla Berry'

This cultivar of the old-fashioned species has a mounding habit and grows to 12 inches tall. It bears cream blossoms with strawberry blotches. 

Trillium grandiflorum

This showy spring-blooming trillium has large white blossoms up to 3 inches long, which fade to soft pink and from cup-shaped to open and recurved. Its veined leaves are solid green, and it grows to 18 inches tall and about half as wide.

Rudbeckia subtomentosa 'Henry Eilers'

The unique, finely quilled, 2-inch-wide flowers are what make 'Henry Eilers' stand out from the rest of the coneflowers. The petals sit separate from one another, forming a brilliant, golden yellow starburst around a dark brownish purple cone. The blooms grow on strong, upright, 4- to 5-foot-tall stems in late summer, and are produced in such abundance that you can cut some for bouquets and you'll never even notice they are missing from the garden. The stems are covered with a soft, hairy down, while the leaves have a pleasing vanilla-and-anise scent.

Rhododendron 'Admiral Semmes'

This native azalea, winner of the 2007 Georgia Gold medal award,  will thrive in heat and humidity, which is why it is a good choice for the South. Large, fragrant yellow blooms appear in early spring. Reportedly pest- and disease free, 'Admiral Semmes' is a  progeny of Exbury hybrid R. 'Hotspur Yellow' and R. austrinum.   -Allan Armitage, Plants to know and grow, Fine Gardening issue #119

Phlomis russeliana

An unusual looking perennial from Turkey and Syria with hooded, pale yellow flowers encircling hairy stems. The flowers somewhat resemble Monarda. Leaves are aromatic and slightly fuzzy. P. russeliana reaches 3 feet tall and nearly as wide. Grow en masse in a border or near a warm wall.

Oxalis vulcan­icola ‘Zinfandel’

The old-fashioned shamrock house­plant is now high fashion. Several introductions from Proven Winners push this group to the fore for its elegant foliage; abundant, delicate flowers; and vigor. Only 6 to 10 inches high with a spread to 12 inches, this plant’s tiny, ¾-inch-wide, bronze-colored leaf clusters and bright yellow flowers are massed on trailing stems that spill over the sides of shaded window boxes and containers.

Galanthus nivalis

Snowdrops are some of the earliest bulbs, and flowers in general, to bloom in spring. Galanthus nivalis is the most common species, and its cultivars are the most commonly grown snowdrops on the market. They are reliably hardy and perennial. They grow to 4 inches tall and wide and flower in mid- to late winter, long before most other plants. They are the first sign of spring around the corner. Flowers are nodding and white.

Deutzia crenata var. nakaiana 'Nikko'

This compact variety performs well as a groundcover and is an excellent choice for the mixed border or rock garden. 

Centaurea montana ‘Amethyst in Snow’

The blooms of this familiar perennial are not the standard blue; instead, they’re a striking silky white with royal purple centers. The flowers appear in late spring, then leave behind a mass of vigorous silvery green foliage.

Magnolia 'Butterflies'

This cross of M. acuminata and M. denudata usually forms a small tree with an upright central leader or sometimes a multi-stemmed shrub. It has yellow cup to star-shaped flowers (3 to 4 inches across) that are fragrant and appear before the leaves in early to mid-spring.

Lamium galeobdolon

This rhizomatous perennial has erect or creeping stems and silvery leaves. In summer, it produces spikes of yellow flowers spotted with brown. A less invasive cultivar is 'Hermann's Pride'.

Actaea racemosa

Actaea racemosa is a native woodland perennial with white, somewhat fuzzy flowers in midsummer that wave above astilbe-like, deeply cut foliage. The flowers can be unpleasantly scented, thus the name "bugbane." Formerly in the genus Cimicifuga, this plant is great for use in a woodland garden or moist border.

Allium tuberosum

This plant produces fast-growing, edible, pungent, onion-like leaves. Small, white flowers appear in late summer.

Brugmansia 'Charles Grimaldi'

Foot-long blossoms are nocturnally fragrant, and pour out from narrow calyces of light yellow, to terminate in fluted, reflexed openings the hues of golden summer squash.