Need an ornamental grass for a spot with light shade? Check out autumn moor grass (Sesleria autumnalis). This non-native grass gets its name from the show it stages in autumn. That’s when tan seedheads appear, standing well above the clump of bright green leaves. Drought-tolerant and easy to grow, autumn moor grass holds its own in a mixed planting bed, adapts well to containers and makes an eye-catching planting en masse. Cut clumps to the ground in winter or very early spring. Plants grow 1 to 2 feet tall and wide. Hardy in Zones 4-8.
Even if you live in a more contemporary home, the holidays are a wonderful opportunity to blend some classic details with your modern design. The holidays are about cherished traditions, the past and making new memories. Designer Mallory Mathison makes some memories of her own in this charming little boys' room that riffs on the colors of the French flag. Vintage elements like a red hobby horse and a preserved boxwood ball contained in a child's silver baby cup show how effortlessly classic touches can be intergrated into holiday decor.
Spice up your landscape with Oso Easy Hot Paprika, an update of an earlier groundcover rose, Oso Easy Paprika. This new variety bears continuously from summer to fall, with vivid orange blooms on plants that reach one to two feet tall. The low-growing shrubs are disease resistant and very cold tolerant, growing even in zone 3. Don’t worry about deadheading the faded flowers; just cut the plants back by half their height each year in early spring. Try them in containers, borders and beds or as edging.
This clever collection of recycled glass terrariums in different shapes displays sedums (such as Sedum spurium and Sedum acre 'Aureum') and succulents such as Variegated Candle Plant, String of Pearls, Propeller Plant and Silver Squill. At the top right, Begonia 'Fireworks' brings in a punch of ruby red. A Hindu rope plant and Mesembryanthemum lehmanni are in the same container in front, near a tiny hens and chicks succulent. They were assembled and arranged by Sarah Brueck Williams, a stained glass artist.
Inside a true bulb is a central shoot that contains layers of leaves and immature flowers. With bulbs planted in your garden, this central shoot forms after flowers fade. This is why it’s important to let leaves of bulbs like tulips and daffodils remain and stay green until they naturally die back. As long as leaves are green, they’re helping to store food that helps form the shoot for next year’s show. Most true bulbs have a protective papery skin (think onion, daffodil, tulip). An exception to this rule are the lilies, including Asiatic and Oriental types.
When designer Kress Jack had a month to furnish a three-bedroom home, he turned to a wide range of sources to find pieces that were available right away. “Luckily the clients wanted to incorporate as many vintage pieces as possible to give the home character and uniqueness. You can find great vintage pieces, including great bargains, if you aren’t afraid to run around a bit. For this home, we bought pieces from local flea markets, vintage stores, and estate sales. For inexpensive Mid Century reproductions I like HD Buttercup and West Elm. I also like to repurpose pieces when I can and give them a new life—like the coffee table, a midcentury piece that we turned into a terrarium by adding sand and air plants, and a Plexiglas top to contain the mess.”
Few plants offer so much sensory appeal as scented geraniums. The group includes a wide variety of foliage forms and plant sizes. Flowers tend to be smaller than traditional bedding plant geraniums. When crushed or rubbed, scented geranium leaves release their volatile oils. Fragrances include citrus blends, rose, peppermint, nutmeg, apple and cinnamon. The lemon scented varieties seem to possess the strongest skeeter-repelling characteristics. Scented geraniums make beautiful container plants. In cold zones, move plants indoors for winter or root cuttings to keep plants alive until spring.
The name whitefly is fairly descriptive of what these pesky insects look like: tiny, white, flying bugs. Whiteflies cluster underneath leaves usually starting in mid- to late summer. When you disturb plants, the insects fly up, forming white clouds. It’s dramatic and horrible at the same time. They love tomatoes, perennial hibiscus, fuchsia and anise hyssop. The adults and young suck plant sap, damaging leaves as they do so and releasing sticky honeydew. Controls include ladybugs, lacewings and a naturally occurring tiny parasitic wasp. You can also control whiteflies using horticultural oils, soaps or bioinsecticides containing fungi that parasitize whiteflies.
Formally known as Magilla purple perilla, it’s okay to shorten the name of this shade-loving plant to Magilla perilla, just because it’s fun to say. It’s a coleus lookalike, but the similarities stop there. Unlike coleus, Magilla perilla branches easily to form a full plant that’s packed with multicolored leaves. It’s also extremely heat and cold tolerant, which means it stands up to summer sizzle and fall’s chilly nights. Use it in containers or to bump up the color quotient in landscape beds. Plants grow quickly to achieve their full size: 24 to 36 inches tall and 12 to 18 inches wide.
There’s an ornamental grass to fit every landscape. Prairie Winds ‘Totem Pole’ switch grass (Panicum virgatum) is the go-to grass for tight spaces. This selection of a native tall prairie grass forms a sturdy upright clump with a small footprint. Plants grow to 6 feet tall and 2 feet wide. Steel-blue leaves bring subtle color to plantings. Seedheads appear in late summer and linger through winter. ‘Totem Pole’ works well in containers, or count on it to add a strong vertical element to planting beds. Hardy in Zones 4-9.
This glass container is filled with “unearthed” ivy, which means the dirt has been removed with the roots exposed, says Joyce Mason-Monheim, floral director for Accent Decor. "Ivy and many other plants will last for a lengthy time without soil and survive with just a water source," says Mason-Monheim, a member of the American Institute of Floral Designers. The ivy is shown with a purple Phalaenopsis orchid bloom for color and detail.
If the only time you reach for apple cider vinegar is when you’re whipping up a tasty vinaigrette, you’re missing out. Apple cider vinegar has loads of uses beyond the salad bowl. Known as ACV among aficionados, apple cider vinegar is basically apple cider that’s fermented. The fermentation process results in a vinegar packed with probiotics and enzymes. You’ll often hear people speak of using ACV with “the mother,” which refers to a murky, globular substance found in the bottom of organic, unfiltered ACV. The mother contains beneficial bacteria and strands of proteins and enzymes—all good stuff for your body.
Whether you’re tending traditional shrub and tree foundation plantings or your version of a Victory Garden vegetable patch, you need a wheelbarrow or garden cart. This two wheel wheelbarrow updates the classic single-wheel version with a no-tip design that’s still a breeze to maneuver. The polyethylene tub never rusts, no matter what you let sit in it for however long. In addition to a wheeled cart, invest in basic buckets, trugs or tip bags. When you garden, you can’t have enough containers to carry things like soil amendments, water, tools, prunings or harvest. Food grade buckets are often free for the asking from bakeries, donut shops and restaurants.
Tall garden phlox (Phlox paniculata) is an old-fashioned perennial that fills midsummer with perfumed color. Flowers open in shades of pink, red, purple, white and various bicolor combinations. The blooms release a sweet fragrance that wafts through the garden on sultry summer days. This beauty is sold as Flame Series Coral garden phlox. The Flame Series is a group of naturally dwarf, compact garden phlox that grows 15 to 18 inches tall—a perfect height for containers, front of the border or courtyard gardens. Plants boast strong disease resistance and a naturally bushy form. Hardy in Zones 3-8.
Available in orange, pink, bicolors, salmon, purple or yellow, calla lilies are easy to grow houseplants. White callas are lovely in Christmas-red containers, and stay in bloom a long time. They're tropicals, so wait until all frost has passed if you want to transplant them into your garden. They'll thrive in a sunny spot in slightly moist, organic-rich soil, but will require repotting and bringing indoors before the first fall frost. If you prefer, you can let the bulbs go dormant and store them in a cool, dry, dark place until you're ready to replant next spring.
Make an old-fashioned cuppa by steeping apple peels in boiling water. For one cup of tea, add a cinnamon stick, a few cloves and, if you want a little zing, the zest of one lemon to 8 ounces of boiling water. Steep 10 minutes. Sweeten with honey or your favorite sweetener. This is a delicious cup of tea that’s rich in nutrients, thanks to the peel’s Vitamins A, K and C (peels contain half an apple’s Vitamin C content), folate and quercetin (helpful in lung and brain function). Vary the spices to shift the flavor to hit other notes, like exotic five-spice, allspice or pumpkin pie spice.
Holly Marsh set out to conquer the entryway clutter issue by turning a common household item into a clever organizational system. She found this vintage shutter at a local thrift store and hung it up next to the back door where everyone comes and goes. Then, she placed S hooks and clothespins on the wooden slats to hold everyone's keys and outgoing mail, invitations and other important memos. An old wooden box below keeps often-worn shoes contained, too. Now there's no excuse for missing keys, lost invites or misplaced bills.
Fall’s classic bloomer is the garden mum. These colorful beauties paint the autumn landscape in nearly any shade imaginable, from pastel tints to bold hues. Garden mums grow best in full sun with well-drained soil and work well in containers or beds. To enjoy the longest show, choose mums with flower buds that are just beginning to crack open. To overwinter plants as perennials in colder zones, get mums into the ground as early as possible in fall. Mulch well after the ground freezes. Plants grow 1 to 3 feet tall and wide. Hardy in Zones 5-9.