Spider flower, Cleome hassleriana

Spider flower is fast growing, self-seeding annual with delicate and airy flowers in showy, exotic looking heads of pink, white or purple. These eye-catching plants provide a splash of color from summer through frost when planted in mass or as a backdrop for shorter companions in the annual or mixed garden. Learn more about this cottage garden favorite in this article…

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Cardinal Climber, Ipomoea sloteri

Looking for a vigorous annual vine to quickly cover a trellis, fence or arbor? Cardinal climber offers attractive, ferny foliage and bright red flowers later in the season which are very attractive to hummingbirds. Learn more about this heirloom ornamental with few pests and little maintenance requirements in this article…

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Common foxglove, Digitalis purpurea

With tall, showy spikes of tubular pink or purple flowers with speckled throats, common foxglove is a common addition to informal gardens for vertical interest. This biennial from Western Europe forms a rosette of leaves the first year and blooms in the second year. Learn more about Digitalis purpurea – the original source of the heart medicine digitoxin – but also considered an invasive weed in many places

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Breadseed or opium poppy, Papaver somniferum

Breadseed poppy is a cool season annual whose small grey or black seeds are often used in baked goods, but technically is illegal to grow in the US since the plant contains narcotic alkaloids which are the active compounds of opium. This typically is not enforced for poppies grown as ornamentals, and there are a great variety of poppies in pink, red and purple, as well as white and bicolors. Learn more about Papaver somniferum in this article…

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Cilantro / Coriander, Coriandrum sativum

Cilantro leaves are an essential ingredient in many Latin American, Caribbean, and Asian, Mexican salsas and many other ethnic dishes. This cool season herb has been selected as the International Herb Association’s Herb of the Year™ 2017. If you like its pungent taste, make sure you plant some this year. Learn more about this common herb and how to grow it…

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Mealycup sage, Salvia farinacea

Add some blue to any garden with the herbaceous perennial mealycup sage grown as an annual.  The shrubby upright clumps produce tall, sturdy flower stems above the foliage, with dense whorls of dark blue, light blue, purple, or white flowers. Learn more about these tough, heat-tolerant plants that bloom from early summer to frost…

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Garden Pyrotechnics

In the spirit of celebration of Independence Day, instead of going with fireworks filled with gunpowder, go with Mother Nature’s fireworks – plants with flowers or form that look like exploding fireworks. This fun post offers a selection of plants with cultivar names related to the season and some that just look like they’re exploding in air.

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California Poppy, Eschscholzia californica

Bright yellow to orange flowers floating above lacy, blue-green foliage makes California poppy a cheerful addition to most gardens. Eschscholzia californica is an easy-to-grow annual, even in Wisconsin. Learn more about this California native in this article…

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Balloon Plant, Gomphocarpus physocarpus

Balloon plant is one of many common names for an African milkweed that develops showy, hairy, inflated seed pods that are a real conversation piece. Grown as an annual in our climate, this tender perennial can be a showpiece in the garden or interesting addition to floral arrangements. To learn more about Gomphocarpus physocarpus, read this article…

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Carpetweed, Mollugo verticillata

Carpetweed lives up to its common name by quickly forming a flat mat over the ground. This prostrate summer annual has freely branching stems with whorls of green leaves at the widely spaced nodes. It is most common in disturbed areas – gardens, new or thin lawns, and roadsides. Find out more about this common weed in this article…

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