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Mums in the Fall Garden

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These diminutive wildflowers are charming, shaped like an open bowl in white, lavender, purple, or pink. They get their name from the evergreen three-part leaves, with a shape reminiscent of the human liver, pointed or rounded on their ends and often with a deep purple cast. In the wild the plants grow in deep leaf litter in deciduous woodlands. Liverleaf is excellent in shady rock gardens or woodlands where the soil is humus-rich.


Part Sun, Shade



Under 6 inches


To 1 foot wide

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Who can't help but adore violets? Their cheerful "faces," often whiskered or otherwise marked, brighten the dreariest day in spring. Use them at the front of beds or borders as edging plants, as bedding plants, in containers and window boxes, in herb gardens, in wild gardens and in rock gardens too. There is a multitude of forms, many now winter hardy in cold climates, in all sizes and colors. Cut back straggly stems and deadhead routinely to prolong blooming. They self-seed freely, but are not invasive. Violets do best in lightly shaded places in soil that remains moist.
Trilliums are the royalty of woodland gardens. In spring, encountering a large, established patch in the wild is something to remember. Gardeners in temperate climates worldwide cherish trilliums, so unfortunately tens of millions have been dug from the wild. Luckily, dedicated enthusiasts have rescued millions, too. Buy from reputable dealers who specify that their plants are propagated from cultivated stock. Plant them 4 inches deep in deep, humus-rich soil that does not dry out, and apply a mulch of rotted leaves annually.
Take a walk down the primrose path and you'll never look back! Primroses are a classic cottage flower and are popular with collectors. They covet the hundreds of different primroses available, especially some of the tiny rare alpine types.Many are staples of cottage gardens and rock gardens, while others provide spring color to damp places, rain gardens, and bog gardens. Their basal rosettes of oval leaves are often puckered or are very smooth. The colorful flowers may be borne singly or rise in tiered clusters, or even spikes. Provide humus-high soil that retains moisture and some shade for best results.
Dog's-tooth violet
Dog's-tooth violets are the first sign of spring in the mountains, and domesticated varieties bring alpine glory to the garden. Their twisted, reflexed flower petals that bend over rosette leaves are a welcome discovery among last season's fallen leaves. The bulbs are native to woodlands and must be sited in well-draining soil rich in organic matter to flourish in home gardens.

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