The wonders of Alaska's Mendenhall Valley include a rainforest, a glacier, and an alleé of upside-down trees. The glacier is a wonder in itself—one of the world's few accessible glaciers—and its unique landscaping feature, the 'Flower Towers,' are a quirky addition by Steve and Cindy Bowhay, owners of Glacier Garden Rainforest in southeast Alaska.
This year will be the seventeenth installment of a biennial tradition in Brussels—an enormous carpet of begonias in the city's Gothic-and-grey central square. It is an extraordinary project: sprawling over the cobblestones at Grand-Palace, the Flower Carpet (Tapis de Fleurs de Bruxelles) is comprised of about 750,000 begonias and weaves a bright, complex design in many colors. The begonia offers an artist's palette of hues—vivid saturation, light pastels, or variegated and white.
Big, black, star-shaped, textured leaves with a red reverse on this Terra Nova introduction give it high drama in the shade garden in summer and in a container in a bright room. Pink flowers chase away winter doldrums. It's hardy in Zones 10-11.