If you're looking for a plant to add year-round drama to your lawn, mixed border, decorative pots, poolside or even your parking strip, add a Phormium to your nursery cart.  This evergreen perennial comes in all sizes and its leaves, whether solid or variegated, encompass a full spectrum of colors. Depending on variety, it can thrive in either sun or shade, is tolerant of our coastal sprays and winter frosts and is moderate in its thirst for water.

The genus has only two species, both of which are quite large: Phormium tenax and Phormium cookianum (or colensoi).  However, it has wide range of more moderately sized hybrids with distinctive leaf colors that are crosses between the two species. The plant is a native of New Zealand, where it is widely grown for its valuable fiber; hence the name, Phormium, which is Greek for basket.

 

Daylilies may be the most carefree of all flowering perennials. The plants grow quickly and are long lived. They thrive in almost any type of soil, will grow in sun or shade, and are rarely troubled by insect pests or disease. Daylilies are known for their toughness, but they also dazzle with their big, colorful flowers. Blooming starts in midsummer and continues into early fall, with new blossoms opening each day.

Hydrangeas are a genus of over 75 species and 600 named cultivars that are native to a wide range of regions and countries, including Japan, Asia, Indonesia, Himalayan mountains, and the Americas. Another common name for hydrangea is hortensia. Hydrangeas can grow as climbing vines and trees, but are most commonly grown as shrubs. The plants can grow from 1 foot tall, all the way to close to 100 feet tall as a climbing vine!

The beautiful flowers produced by this plant is what makes these so popular. Most bloom from early spring all the way into fall. The large flowers come in a variety of shapes, colors, and sizes.

Many people remember hydrangeas from their childhood. Today we are falling in love with them all over again. And the good news is that we can now grow many hydrangeas our grandmothers never even dreamed of. Some newer hydrangeas grow in colder climates, some are so small they will fit into the perennial border, and others have amazingly large blooms and deep colors.

Choose a pomegranate that has a deep, vibrant color, and that is a bit lumpy. A lumpy pomegranate is a hint that the seeds inside are becoming perfectly juicy! The unripe fruit will often be lighter and will make a hollow sound when tapped. And as is the case with most fruits, pomegranate should be heavy for its size with few scrapes or bruises.

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