Russian sage and russet-colored Japanese barberry in late summer
Photo: Jerry Pavia
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Unique Beauty from Familiar Plants

Like many gardeners, Kay started out modestly, with just a few small beds, and expanded gradually. Today, her flower borders look so stunning that people often pull off the road to stare when they are driving past her house, which sits on a rise in the northern Idaho town of Bonners Ferry and has a sweeping view of the Selkirk Mountains.

The trick to having a lot of late-season color, Kay says, is to think in terms of waves of blooms. She has her spring flowers, including swaths of bulbs, such as tulips, daffodils, and hyacinths. Then come the early- to mid-summer bloomers, including irises, peonies, and poppies. The final flourish begins with the late-summer bloomers you see here, including dahlias, black-eyed Susans, coreopsis, and zinnias, alongside all those marigolds. As summer transitions into fall, asters and chrysanthemums join in the chorus.

Shown: Billowy, fragrant Russian sage and russet-colored Japanese barberry create sprawling clouds of color.
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