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142


AKEBIA


A


Akebia quinata FIVELEAF AKEBIA


Lardizabalaceae


DECIDUOUS VINE, SEMIEVERGREEN IN MILD WINTERS


ZZONES 2–24 FPSSUN OR SHADE O REGULAR WATER


Albizia


julibrissin MIMOSA


Mimosaceae DECIDUOUS TREE


ZZONES 4–23 FP FULL SUN OR PARTIAL SHADE O REGULAR WATER


b ATTRACTS BIRDS, BUTTERFLIES


Alcea rosea (Althaea rosea)


HOLLYHOCK Malvaceae


BIENNIAL OR SHORT-LIVED PERENNIAL ZZONES 1–24


FP PARTIAL SHADE IN HOTTEST CLIMATES


O REGULAR WATER b ATTRACTS BIRDS, BUTTERFLIES


Alchemilla LADY’S-MANTLE


Rosaceae PERENNIALS


ZZONES VARY BY SPECIES


FP FULL SUN IN COOLER CLIMATES ONLY


O REGULAR WATER


Akebia quinata


This native of Japan, China, and Korea twines to 15–30 ft., grow- ing quickly in mild regions, more slowly where winters are cold. Valued chiefl y for its dainty leaves on 3–5-in. stalks, each divided into fi ve deep green leafl ets, notched at tips. Dan- gling clusters of dull purple, vanilla-scented fl owers in spring are more a surprise than a show. Edible fruit, if produced, looks like a thick, purplish sau- sage. ‘Shirobana’ (‘Alba’) bears white fl owers. Provide support for climbing. Can be invasive in moist areas. Prune each winter. Recovers quickly when cut to the ground. For a tracery effect on a post or column, prune out all but two or three basal stems. Can also be used as groundcover in large spaces; plant 6 ft. apart. A. trifoliata, threeleaf akebia, has three instead of fi ve leaf- lets per leaf.


One way to grow this rambunctious vine: train it up a wrought-iron fence and let it spill over the top, forming a lacy curtain.


Albizia julibrissin rosea


Native to Asia, ranging from Iran to Japan. This open grower, sometimes called silk tree, rap- idly reaches 40 ft. tall, with a canopy spreading to as much as twice the tree’s height. Ferny, pale yellowish green leaves are light sensitive and fold at night. The fl uffy pink, summertime fl owers look like pincushions or powder-puffs and appear even on young plants. A. j. rosea has richer pink fl owers and is considered hardier. ‘Boubri’ (‘Ombrella’) bears hot pink blooms. ‘Summer Chocolate’ has rich burgundy foliage. Mimosa does best with high


summer heat; it’s a best seller in Southern California’s inland valleys. In Zones 4 and 5, choose the warmest locations possible. With regular water, it grows fast; given skimpy mois- ture, it usually survives but grows slowly, looks yellowish. Flat-topped, spreading canopy makes this a good patio tree, despite fallen leaves, fl owers, and pods. Beautiful when viewed from above. Most attractive as a multistemmed tree. Tough to get started as a high-headed tree: it must be staked and trained (rub out any buds too low on the trunk with your thumb). Start with trees planted from contain- ers established at least 1 year.


Alcea rosea


This old-fashioned charmer from the Mediterranean region is best against a fence or wall or at the back of a border. Old sin- gle varieties can reach 9 ft. tall; newer strains and selections are shorter. Big, rough, roundish leaves, slightly lobed, form a clump to about 3 ft. wide. Sum- mer fl owers are 3–6 in. wide along upright stems; they may be single, semidouble, or dou- ble and come in colors includ- ing white, pink, rose, purple, red, creamy yellow, and apricot. Chater’s Double is a fi ne peren- nial strain; 6-ft. spires have 5–6-in.-wide fl owers. Biennials treated as annuals that bloom the fi rst year from seed include 5–6-ft.-tall Summer Carnival, with double fl owers, and 21⁄2-ft.- tall Majorette.


CARE


Sow seeds in ground in late summer for next season’s bloom; seed annual strains in early spring for bloom that summer. After fl owers fade, cut stalks just above the ground; continue to feed and water plants to encourage late summer or early fall rebloom. Plants often self-sow. Destroy any rust-infected leaves as soon as disease appears. Watch for slugs and snails.


Alchemilla mollis


These soft-looking perennials are useful for edgings in lightly shaded areas, as groundcover, and as a contrast to brightly colored fl owers. Rounded, pale green, lobed leaves have a silvery look. Summer fl owers are yellowish green, in large branched clusters, attractive as a frothy mass. A. alpina. Zones 1–9, 14–17. Native to northern Europe and Greenland. This mat-forming plant creeps by run- ners, with fl owering stems to 6–8 in. tall. Leaves are divided into fi ve to seven leafl ets. A. ellenbeckii. Zones 14–


24. From the mountains of East Africa. Attractive small-scale groundcover to about 2 in. high, with creeping, rooting stems and leaves less than 1 in. wide. A. mollis. Zones A2, A3;


1–9, 14–24. This native of Asia Minor is the most commonly planted lady’s-mantle. It forms a clump to 2 ft. or taller and about 21⁄2 ft. wide, with nearly circular, scallop-edged leaves. To prevent self-sowing, dead- head plants soon after fl ower- ing. ‘Auslese’ bears bright lime green fl owers. ‘Thriller’ has large, shiny, gray-green leaves and golden yellow blooms. A. pectinata. Zones 14– 24. Native to Mexico. Tiny creeper with inch-wide leaves.


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