David Austin English Rose 'Vanessa Bell' is a top-performing rose of delicate beauty with an alluring freshness and grace. Its soft lemon-yellow flowers are held in large open clusters, accented by rounded buds tinged with rich pink. It blooms with abundance, being nearly covered with flowers from early summer till frost. Its compact growth habit is ideal for planting in the front of garden borders. The medium-strength fragrance is best described as green tea with aspects of lemon and, at times, honey. See davidaustinroses.com. (In background: purple/maroon heirloom Sweet Pea 'Cupani')
Bergenia stages a multi-season color show in a part shade to full sun spot. Cool seasons deepen leaves to brilliant red hues, and spring welcomes the arrival of bright pink blossoms that beckon hummingbirds. Leaves fade to green through summer, until fall frosts bring out red tones. Unlike other bergenia, ‘Flirt’ has small leaves that put blooms center stage. Deer-resistant, drought-tolerant plants grow 6 inches tall by 9 inches wide. Bergenia is evergreen in the Deep South, where winter color is strong. Hardy in Zones 4-9.
Known as blue wild indigo or blue false indigo (Baptisia australis), this native perennial achieves shrub size each growing season. Plants sink a deep tap root that searches out water to fuel top growth. Blue flower spikes appear in late spring, blending beautifully with the blue-green leaves. More stems appear each year, creating a full, lush plant. Snip blooms or branches for the vase. Grows 4 feet tall and 2 to 3 feet wide. Hardy in Zones 4-9. Look for new and smaller varieties with flowers in shades of pink, purple, yellow and brown.
Purple flower clusters (8 inches long) cover this small tree all summer long. Blooms beckon pollinators of all kinds—it’s a great plant for a bee or butterfly garden. Gray-green leaves have purple undersides that complement blooms. Look for other chaste tree varieties with flowers in shades of pink or white. The branch structure is very architectural and adds good winter interest to a landscape. If your chaste tree develops lots of twiggy growth and starts looking more shrub-like, prune it in late winter. Remove all smaller twigs along five or six major trunks to create a tree-looking plant. Size: 6 to 8 feet tall and 8 to 10 feet wide. Hardy in Zones 6-9.
For colorful leaves that thrive in shade, it’s tough to beat caladium. This variety, Artful Fire and Ice, unfurls leaves that look like a painter crafted them with splashes of green, pink, rose and white. Give caladiums a spot in full to part shade, although in northern gardens, plants can withstand more sun. Keep soil consistently moist for best growth and color. You’ll know you’re failing if leaves turn yellow and drop. Fire and Ice caladium grows 18 to 30 inches tall and12 to 18 inches wide. The other annuals in this container thrive in part shade: Diamond Frost euphorbia and Black Cherry Supertunia.