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The common name tells you so much about this plant: Sea lavender thrives on the beach, where it adores the excellent drainage and poor, sandy, or rocky soil. It grows wild on some U.S. shores and provides food for wildlife. In the home garden, it's a great choice for rock gardens, planting alongside the edge of retaining walls, or tucking into those hot, dry baked spots between pavers. It produces airy masses of lavenderlike flowers, which rise above rosettes of 1-foot-long, slightly fleshy leaves. The flowers dry well, practically right on the plant.
Given very good drainage, sea lavender is tough and excellent for seaside gardens, and it should be included in wildlife gardens, too.
Part Sun, Sun
1 to 3 feet
To 2 feet wide
plant Sea lavender with
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
Dusty miller is a favorite because it looks good with everything. The silvery-white color is a great foil for any type of garden blossom and the fine-textured foliage creates a beautiful contrast against other plants' green foliage. Dusty miller has also earned its place in the garden because it's delightfully easy to grow, withstanding heat and drought like a champion.
Tall, dramatic red-hot pokers create architectural impact in sunny gardens. Their bold spikes of brilliantly colored tubular flowers are set among sword-shape leaves. Most varieties are hybrid selections. They need a humus-rich soil that is well-drained and light.
Bring a note of the tropics to your garden with the bold, colorful, strappy leaves of New Zealand flax. They are excellent as container plants that can be overwintered with protection, but in warm areas, they're spectacular planted directly in the ground.Flower panicles may reach 12 feet tall in some selections with red or yellow tubular flowers. Blooms only appear in mild climates, but there they attract many species of birds. If space is limited, check out dwarf forms.While New Zealand flax is a popular perennial in frost-free areas, it's becoming more and more loved in northern regions, where it's treated as an annual.