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Umbrella plant sends up a flower stalk with pink or white blooms in early spring, but it's the dramatic 2-foot-diameter leaves that are the main attraction. They're gorgeously frilled at the edges and give areas a lush look.
It's native to moist, shady streamsides in California and Oregon. It requires a constant supply of moisture to grow well.
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This flower likes wet conditions so much that it's often recommended for bog and water gardens where it lights things up with bright yellow flowers. A native of wetlands, marsh marigold forms foot-tall mounds of foliage topped with 1- to 2-inch-wide yellow blooms (a white form is also available) in early spring. It's also a good selection for chronically soggy or poorly drained sites. It often goes dormant after it blooms.
This plant hardly grown 40 years ago is now one of the most commonly grown garden plants. But hosta has earned its spot in the hearts of gardeners -- it's among the easiest plants to grow, as long as you have some shade and ample rainfall.Hostas vary from tiny plants suitable for troughs or rock gardens to massive 4-foot clumps with heart-shape leaves almost 2 feet long that can be puckered, wavy-edged, white or green variegated, blue-gray, chartreuse, emerald-edged -- the variations are virtually endless. Hostas in new sizes and touting new foliage features seem to appear each year. This tough, shade-loving perennial, also known as plaintain lily, blooms with white or purplish lavender funnel-shape or flared flowers in summer. Some are intensely fragrant. Hostas are a favorite of slug and deer.
Although sweet flag looks like a grass, it is in a family by itself. Like grasses, though, sweet flags are grown for their textural foliage, especially the boldly variegated types. The plants grow best in moist soil and may even grow in several inches of standing water, making striking upright accents in water gardens or moist borders.