By: Garden Gate staff
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Make a point!
Spikes are exciting! But what is a spike, exactly? Well, it’s a cluster of flowers that grows along the top portion of an elongated stem — the vertical form draws major attention. Adding them to your garden creates variety, spicing up a soft silhouette made of otherwise rounded plants.
Taller plants may come to mind when you think of spikes, but they come in all heights. Short spikes draw attention to the front of your border once they pop up. Medium-height spikes highlight the middle of the garden, drawing the eye further in. Tall spikes often make the strongest statements. Chose a spike — or two — from the bold ones just ahead!
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Cottage garden must-have
Lupines punctuate a border and make it much more interesting! They’re also deer- and rabbit-resistant. Let some lupine go to seed each year, as this short-lived perennial doesn’t transplant well.
Lupine Lupinus hybrids
Blooms Yellow, deep blue, pink, purple, red, salmon, white, cream and mixed flowers from late spring to midsummer
Light Full sun
Size 18 to 60 in. tall, 24 to 30 in. wide
Cold-hardy USDA zones 4 to 9
Heat-tolerant AHS zones 9 to 1
Source Bluestone Perennials
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Marvelous cut flower
Wheat celosia has spires that are especially eye-catching in the middle of a flower border. Back it with a bold, dark-leafed plant for the most pop.
Wheat celosia Celosia spicata
Blooms Pink or magenta flowers from midsummer to fall
Light Full sun
Size 24 to 36 in. tall, 12 to 24 in. wide
Heat-tolerant AHS zones 12 to 1
Source Fedco Seeds
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Made for the shade
With deep red flower buds (calyces) and tiny purple flowers, poker primrose grabs attention on its looks alone. It adds dramatic color in a part-shade woodland garden, especially when planted alongside spring-blooming shrubs.
Poker primrose Primula vialii
Blooms Red calyces with purple flowers in late spring to early summer
Light Part shade (full sun in cool areas)
Size 12 to 20 in. tall, 10 to 12 in. wide
Cold-hardy USDA zones 5 to 8
Heat-tolerant AHS zones 8 to 1
Source Dutch Gardens