AUGUST’S BALMY days beg for something exotic. Try the luxurious flowering maple (Abutilon megapotamicum). This tropical-looking but cold-hardy beauty starts flowering in early summer and, by August, explodes in a crescendo of lantern-shaped, bright yellow flowers and smoky red calyces (berry-like clusters), which send hummingbirds into a joyful frenzy. With rich soil, plenty of water, lots of sun, and a wall or trellis to lean on, the flowering maple can rise eight feet within a couple of seasons. Plant before September to give the tough shrub time to establish itself before Jack Frost comes nipping at its pretty little leaves.
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