Flower guide

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Flower guide

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A member of the very popular, many-colored Sorbet series from grower PanAmerican Seed Co., Sorbet Black Duet is a sweet little bicolor, with a bright-purple face and velvety dark-plum wings. Sorbets are early to flower after winter has passed and continue through late spring. Plants are 6 inches high and wide; flowers are about an inch across.
This is one of the most unusual and striking violas you'll ever see, with an inky lacework of veining etched across a golden background. Forms a neat mound 4 to 6 inches high and wide, with numerous 1-inch flowers. The entire Angel series from British grower Floranova is undaunted by cold weather and can take heat better than cousin pansy, so they're perfect for taking the garden from early fall into late spring.
I just can't help it – I love brown flowers. Maybe it's the irony; maybe I just have a thing for the color brown. But the malted-milkshake, silvery tones of Velour Frosted Chocolate are on another plane. Part of an award-winning series from Floranova, the flowers in this dainty little one are a bit smaller than its brethren, less than an inch across, with a shape more akin to wild violets. Blooms profusely on compact plants, fall and spring.
A sophisticated blend of soft yellow, lilac and mauve gives Yes! Pineapple Crush a timeless appeal, like a pressed flower from Victorian days. A central burst of whiskers and a bright-yellow eye keep things lively. An added bonus is a silvery overlay that intensifies in warm weather. It's another good candidate for taking the garden through mild winters, with a high tolerance for cold. Upright mounds of spoon-shape leaves are covered with inch-wide flowers in fall and spring.
Masses of wine-red flowers on airy three-foot stems nod in the slightest breeze. A classy new flowering tobacco from Floranova, more compact than its ‘Tinkerbell’ cousin. Annual.
From German grower Dümmen comes a cornucopia of fruit-inspired African daisies, with tasty names like Blueberry and Cranberry. Purple and fuchsia petals have an iridescent look, with dark violet-blue centers. Typically used as an annual.
One of 22 varieties in the Celebrette Series, ‘Coral Light’ has a kickin’ combination of large coral flowers hovering over dark-edged foliage midstriped with a blaze of more coral. Needs some shade, but laughs at heat and humidity. Grows 8 to 10 inches tall and 10 to 12 inches wide. Annual.  simplybeautifulgardens.com
Discovered as a seedling of Euphorbia characias in a garden in Tasmania, this phenomenal spurge has both variegated leaves and flowers, combining blue-green with creamy white. Upright stems are a forest of linear leaves, forming a dense shrubby mound. In spring through early summer, large heads of flowers hover on 2- to 3-foot stems, pale yellow and cream, with small green bow-tie centers. Evergreen where winters are mild. Zones 6-9.
Your typical sunflower (Helianthus annuus) is one huge flower on a towering stalk — not exactly vase material. But breeders have selected a host of cultivars that produce multiple smaller flowers on shorter, branching stems, perfect for cutting. ‘Jade’ is a unique color — pale green — which goes with everything in a bouquet. Each 4-to-5-foot plant produces loads of 4-to-5-inch flowers.
Want your bouquet to really pack a punch? How about a fiery red-and-yellow dinner-plate dahlia up to 11 inches across! Dahlias can take a little effort (staking, pinching, storing tubers over the winter in cooler zones), but the results are worth it, and anyone who loves to make floral arrangements has them on the list of must-haves. ‘Bodacious’ can produce flowers midsummer into fall. dahlias.com, dutchbulbs.com
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