The overall color look is neutral with pops of bold color creating a modern feel for the design. The red-toned wood of the dresser pops agains the gray-toned hardwood floor and beige wall coloring. Red flowers and a black spiked sphere compliment the tones in the area rug with gold wall embellishments traveling upward to fill the empty wall space.
Pros know one of the keys to beautiful and interesting neutral rooms is texture. Each design choice in this living room — furniture, fabrics, throw blankets, rugs, wall art, mantel and bookshelf accessories, plus plants and flowers — was selected for the texture it adds to the overall neutral theme.
In late summer, the hop vine flowers, forming eye-catching cones. If you’re growing hops for beer-making, the flower cone is what you harvest for brewing. On Summer Shandy, cones are purely for show. Summer Shandy grows in part sun to sun, and it grows fast. Count on it to blanket a support structure by midsummer. In cold zones, cut vines to ground level after frost kills them.
Large white flowers cover Hyperion dogwood in early spring. Hyperion hails from the dogwood breeding team at Rutgers University in New Jersey. The over-size blooms nearly overlap to blanket the tree in white. Flowers fade to form red, strawberry-like fruits that birds love. Fall color offers a medley of hues: purple, gold and orange. Expect this dogwood to reach its mature size of 20 feet tall and wide in roughly 20 years. Hardy in Zones 6-9.
If impatiens are your go-to favorite for shade gardens, check out double impatiens like the Rockapulco series, including Appleblossom (above). Double impatiens unfurl rose-like blooms that blanket plants all summer long. There’s no need to remove spent flowers, and plants never need trimming, unless you want to do so to maintain a certain size. Plants flower best in full to part shade. Look for Rockapulco varieties with blossoms in shades of orange, orchid, purple, red and white. Plants grow 10 to 20 inches tall and 12 to 24 inches wide.
When most people think of clematis, they picture something like the luxurious, deep purple blooms of ‘The President.’ This beauty is a traditional clematis vine, happy to clamber up a trellis or blanket a fence. ‘The President’ opens its first flush of flowers in late spring to early summer, followed by a second blooming with smaller flowers in early autumn. Prune in late winter or early spring, cutting vines back to 6 to 9 inches tall. Place cuts just above a pair of strong buds. These deer- and rabbit-resistant plants grow 8 to 12 feet tall by 3 to 4 feet wide. Hardy in Zones 4-8.
False hydrangea earns its name because it unfurls flowers that resemble lacecap hydrangea blooms. This variety is sold as Rose Sensation (Schizophragma hydrangeoides ‘Minsens’) because the large petals (actually known as tepals) offer a deep, rose pink. Flowers appear in June and July. False hydrangea vine is a good choice for a part sun to part shade location—it’s often used in a woodland garden setting or north-facing garden. It’s a vigorous vine that’s well suited for trailing across a pergola or blanketing an arch with color. Vines grow 40 to 50 feet high and 6 to 9 feet wide. Hardy in Zones 5-9.
With succulent containers, you’re going for foliage, not flowers, so zero in on the leaves and mix a variety of shapes, textures and colors. This container recipe mixes and matches hens-and-chicks and sedum varieties hardy to 20 degrees below zero, so it can survive outside on your patio in deepest winter, under a blanket of snow. RECIPE: ‘Cebenese’ Hens-and-Chicks (Sempervivum arachnoideum ‘Cebenese’, Zones 5-8); ‘Black Pearl’ Sedum (Sedum album ‘Black Pearl’, Zones 5-8); ‘Old Copper’ Hens-and-Chicks (Sempervivum ‘Old Copper’, Zones 5-8); ‘Oktoberfest’ Sedum (Sempervivum ‘Oktoberfest’, Zones 5-8); Job’s Beard (Sempervivum heuffelii ‘Irene’, Zones 4-8); ‘Ruby Mantle’ Stonecrop (Phedimus spurius ‘Ruby Mantle’, Zones 4-8)
One reason many gardeners grow clematis is because they crave blue and purple colors in planting beds. Brother Stefan clematis delivers beautiful blue blooms—all summer long. It flowers on old and new growth, creating a plant that’s blanketed in blue hues. This gorgeous vine is named for Stefan Franczak, a Jesuit monk and noted horticulturist in Poland who developed many excellent clematis varieties. In early spring when buds swell, cut stems back to 3 feet high. Vines grow 5 to 7 feet tall and 4 to 6 feet wide—a great choice for an entry arch or pergola over a patio. Hardy in Zones 4-9.
Red maple (Acer rubrum) is beloved for its red flowers that blanket the tree in spring, opening before leaves appear. Summer leaf color is a steady green. Autumn triggers a color show with varying shades of red, from brilliant to deep burgundy. ‘Autumn Spire’ red maple is an upright, narrow accent tree that embodies the traditional beauty of red maple in a size that fits any yard. Trees grow 50 feet tall and 20 to 25 feet wide. They’re drought tolerant once established and also withstand flooding. Developed by the University of Minnesota, this maple holds its own where winter thermometer readings linger below zero. Expect trees to live 80 to 100 years. Hardy in Zones 3-6.