Guides: Beds And Borders
Blueberries (Vaccinium) make excellent ornamental edibles. Evergreen or deciduous shrubs, they are worthy of inclusion in the garden where they offer multiple seasons of interest. They can be successfully grown in any size garden or planted in containers provided they are grown in acidic soil.
Real eye-catchers in the garden, Gladiolus, also known as sword lilies, are cormous perennials boasting incredibly spectacular spikes of funnel-shaped flowers in summer in a surprisingly wide range of colors. Borne atop attractive fans of sword-shaped or linear leaves, they always provide a dramatic effect with their rich and cheerful colors and their breathtaking vertical lines.
Native to Japan and Korea, Hydrangea serrata (Mountain Hydrangea) is a deciduous shrub of rounded habit with delicate lacecap flowers with flattened clusters from early to late summer. Reminiscent of the Bigleaf Hydrangea (Hydrangea macrophylla), it is however more refined in habit and its flowers and leaves are smaller. Borne in great quantity, the elegant blossoms of some cultivars have the wonderful habit of changing color 3 to 4 times per season.
Queens of the winter flowers, Camellias are attractive evergreen shrubs that are highly prized for the beauty of their exquisite blooms, their splendid evergreen foliage and their compact shapely habit. Blooming prodigiously for weeks from fall to spring (depending on climate and variety), when the rest of the garden offers little, Camellias are ranked as one of the very best flowering shrubs
While all Japanese Maples are beautiful and provide a fabulous architectural presence, in the garden or in containers, some enjoy particularly outstanding features such as dramatic foliage, long-lasting striking leaf color, unusual leaf shape or striking winter bark. The eye can never pass lightly over the dazzling color presented by their flaming foliage across seasons or the graceful outlines of their brilliant coral twigs and branches.
Fuchsias are not so fragile beauties. Some are quite hardy and can withstand temperatures down to -10ºF (-23ºC) and grow in USDA Hardiness Zones 6. They are useful in permanent plantings, adding vibrant pockets of summer color and showing up particularly well against dark evergreen shrubs. They are perfect to light up a dull, shady border.
Most gardeners are unaware of the wide range of characteristics offered by Malus species and their cultivars in terms of flower color, fragrance, fruit color, fruit retention, fall foliage, tree shape, and disease resistance. These are key elements to consider when selecting a flowering crabapple. Consequently, you should not eliminate varieties merely by flower color alone, or you may end up with a less than optimum tree with limited interest.
Prized for its delightful fragrance, Syringa vulgaris (Common Lilac) is a mainstay of the spring landscape in northern and colder climates. Easy to grow, tough as nails, deer resistant and relatively free from major pests, Common Lilacs are one of the most effective flowering shrubs. Tailored to meet the needs of all gardens, this species counts 2000 cultivars.
Appealing to most gardeners, Dicentra (Bleeding Heart) are rhizomatous or tuberous perennials with heart-shaped flowers dangling in arching panicles or racemes above attractively divided leaves. Shade tolerant, they bloom over a long season, extending from late spring to early fall, in cooler climates. In hotter climates, flowering will usually stop in the heat of the summer, but may start again when the weather cools in late summer or early fall. Beautiful in leaf as soon as they sprout, they quickly add their charming blooms and make elegant additions to the garden when combined with other shade-loving perennials.
When days grow short and winds blow cold, indoor flowers go a long way to warm the heart and cheer the soul. The easiest and most rewarding bulbs you can grow, Paperwhites are amazingly fragrant daffodils that are perfect for producing flowers in a short period of time when grown indoors. Hailing from the temperate shores of the southeastern Mediterranean, these bright, peppery-scented bulb flowers are not winter hardy. However, in warm climates (zones 8-11) with hot, dry summers, paperwhite bulbs can be planted outside where they will bloom annually for many years. Paperwhites are members of the daffodil family, Narcissus tazetta.
Naturalizing bulbs is a terrific way to brighten up lawns, prairies or meadows in spring. They also make gardening easy. Once planted, there is nothing left to do: these bulbs can stay right where they are and produce flowers year after year. What could be better?
The tall Alliums in particular are very impressive when towering up above lower-growing plants or ground covers. They are definitely displayed at their loveliest when placed among perennial plants in the border. Their leaves, which are usually not very attractive and which also wither back quickly after flowering, will then be hidden beneath the leaves of the perennial plants.
Native to Mexico and Central America, Echeverias are regarded by many as one of the most beautiful succulents. Evergreen, they form attractive rosettes of fleshy leaves and often resemble plum-petaled roses, waterlilies or ruffled lettuce. There are dozens of species, and hundreds of cultivars offering a wide array of colors, sizes or leaf shapes.
There are 20 different Snowdrop species and several hundreds of hybrids. Yes, several hundreds (!). The craze known as Galanthophilia has swept through the ranks of gardening enthusiasts in the past few years. While all snowdrops look the same to the uninitiated - dainty, nodding white flowers, with a dab of green, held on a thin arching stalk at the end of a thicker stem - they reveal their differences when you take a closer look.
Robust and hardy, Ipheion (Spring Starflower) are small bulbous perennials with lovely star-shaped, sweet violet scented flowers borne on long slender scapes in mid to late spring. Blooming for up to 8 weeks, the dainty blossoms rise atop a cushion of narrow, pale, delicate and grass-like leaves. Regarded to be one of the easiest bulbs to grow
Native to North America, Camassias (Camas) are bulbous perennials with long racemes of up to 100 star-shaped flowers, adorned with six slender loose petals, a green center and bright yellow stamens. The flowers vary in color from pale lilac or white to deep purple or blue-violet. Borne on stout, willowy stems, they open sequentially from bottom to top for a long lasting display.
Known as the most flamboyant personalities within the world of lilies, they are characterized by their immense flowers, intense fragrance and rich colors. Exotic-looking, these Oriental hybrids are derived from species native to Japan. Blooming over a long period of time, from mid to late summer and even into fall for some varieties, their flowers are usually large and open, outward facing or pendant with striking patterns of spots. Most Oriental Lilies are in shades of white, pink and red, some with pretty yellow bands on their petals. Not as easy to grow as the Asiatic Lilies or Trumpet Lilies, they are still worth a try, just for the pleasure of possessing a magnificent plant in your own garden! Oriental Lilies prefer humus rich soil that is acidic. Give them plenty of water and mulch for a cool root run.