Create decorative kissing balls with evergreen instead of mistletoe this year. Start with a styrofoam sphere for your base, and cut fresh evergreen to the same length, and inch or two long. Hot glue a piece of twine around the styrofoam ball, and then cover the entire ball with evergreen cuttings by hot gluing them right next to each other. When the ball is covered, hang above a doorway, on a doorknob or in a corner that needs a bit of holiday cheer.
Fall means garden mums, and no one does mum hanging baskets better than Longwood Gardens. At their annual Chrysanthemum Festival, mums (Chrysanthemum) take center stage, including these gigantic hanging orbs. Your porch might not be able to accommodate an oversize orb, but it can host pretty garden mum hanging baskets.
Some clematis varieties open flowers with twice the number of petals and are called double blooms. ‘Diamond Ball’ unfurls cool white-blue double flowers. When fully open, the blossoms measure 4 to 5 inches across with a round or almost spherical shape. Expect to see flowers all summer long. In early spring, cut stems back to 18 inches high. Vines grow 5 to 6 feet tall and 2 to 3 feet wide—a great choice for an entry arch or pergola over a patio. Hardy in Zones 4-9.
Meet a clematis that adds a cool note to any garden with its ice-blue blossoms. ‘Diamond Ball’ clematis unfurls beautiful double blooms up to 5 inches across. It flowers on both new and old stems, making it an easy clematis to prune. Simply cut vines back to 18 inches tall in early spring. Give clematis a trellis or netting to climb in a spot with the head of the plant in sun and the base shaded. Vines grow 5 to 6 feet tall by 2 to 3 feet wide. Hardy in Zones 4-9. Why we love it: Blue is a must-have color in the garden, and this shade of ice-blue is especially unusual—and on an easy-to-grow plant.
Carnations are one of the most readily available and affordable flowers found at supermarkets from coast to coast. Give them a stylish upgrade by arranging them ombre style. To do so, pick up three different shades of the same color carnation, cut them to size so that they sit low around the perimeter of the vessel, then graduate from one color to another.
Make It: Give a dated holiday ornament a charming touch using wrapped fabric scraps. First, cut linen or cotton fabric into 24-inch-long by one-half-inch-wide strips. Next, wrap the ornaments with the fabric strips, securing each end with hot glue. Layer the scraps around each ornament until completely covered.
Get out your birdfeeders before cold weather arrives. Hanging them before natural food sources are gone gives birds a chance to find the feeders and become accustomed to visiting. Just be sure to keep feeders filled once you start. Birds are creatures of habit, and species that winter in place will frequent the same feeder throughout the cold season.
Make It: First, gather buttons in various shapes, sizes and colors. Then, starting at the center of a three-inch foam sphere, attach the buttons by inserting a tailor's pin through one hole of each button until secured. Continue this process around the entire sphere, covering it one row at a time. Once the entire surface is covered, add a second layer of buttons to any sections where foam is still visible. Finally, tie ribbon into a loop, attach to the top of the sphere with a tailor's pin and hang on the tree.