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One of the longest blooming perennials, pincushion flowers have old-fashioned charm. They get their name from their interestingly shaped flowers, which resemble little pincushions. They are as at home in cottage gardens as they are in more formal borders. Group several plants together for more impact. The lavender blue, pink, or white flowers bloom over several weeks and are good for cutting. Pincushion flowers must have good drainage and full sun. They like alkaline soil, so if yours tends to be acidic, add lime to raise the pH.
Under 6 inches to 3 feet
9-24 inches wide, depending on variety
more varieties for Pincushion flower
(Scabiosa caucasica) bears 2-inch wide, flat flowerheads with pincushion-like central florets surrounded by larger petal-like florets in pale blues, pinks, and white. These are carried on 2 feet tall stems. Zones 4-9.
Butterfly Blue pincushion flower
(Scabiosa 'Butterfly Blue') blooms all summer with lavender-blue flowers on 16-inch-tall stems. Zones 3-8.
plant Pincushion flower with
Phlox are one of those bounteous summer flowers any large sunny flowerbed or border shouldn't be without. There are several different kinds of phlox. Garden and meadow phlox produce large panicles of fragrant flowers in a wide assortment of colors. They also add height, heft, and charm to a border. Low-growing wild Sweet William, moss pinks, and creeping phlox are effective as ground covers, at the front of the border, and as rock and wild garden plants, especially in light shade. These native gems have been hybridized extensively especially to toughen the foliage against mildew problems; many recent selections are mildew-resistant. Phlox need amply moist soil for best overall health.
Easy and undemanding, veronicas catch the eye in sunny gardens over many months. Some have mats with loose clusters of saucer-shaped flowers, while others group their star or tubular flowers into erect tight spikes. A few veronicas bring elusive blue to the garden, but more often the flowers are purplish or violet blue, rosy pink, or white. Provide full sun and average well-drained soil. Regular deadheading extends bloom time.
The quintessential cottage flower, pinks are treasured for their grasslike blue-green foliage and abundant starry flowers, which are often spicily fragrant. Depending on the type of pink, flowers appear in spring or summer and tend to be pink, red, white, rose, or lavender, but come in nearly all shades except true blue. Plants range from tiny creeping groundcovers to 30-inch-tall cut flowers, which are a favorite with florists. Foliage is blue-green.Shown above: 'Firewitch' dianthus
One of the longest bloomers in the garden, coreopsis produces (usually) sunny yellow daisylike flowers that attract butterflies. Coreopsis, depending on the variety, also bears golden-yellow, pale yellow, pink, or bicolor flowers. It will bloom from early to midsummer or longer as long as it's deadheaded.