The beautyberry bush produces long wands of purple berries that often have a metallic sheen, quite a sight for the fall garden. The American beautybush grows 3 to 8 feet high and is reliably hardy in USDA Zones 7 to 11. The Japanese beautybush is 4 to 6 feet tall and wide, hardy in USDA Zones 5 to 8. Both types can be cut back severely in the spring if necessary. The flowers — usually pinkish to white — form on new wood.
Problem: Lower leaves turn yellow and drop. Solution: Several issues can cause foliage to turn yellow and fall off. First, be sure you’re not overwatering or underwatering. To check for signs of overwatering, gently ease the plant out of its pot and look for rotting or blackened roots. Leaf drop can also result from insufficient light, so try moving your plant to a brighter spot. Finally, make sure you’re using the right fertilizer for your plant, and feed as directed on the label. This Zamioculcas, or ZZ plant, seldom has these kinds of problems. It's tough enough to tolerate low light and little water.
One of the most precious values a shared plant can bring with it is a little story. My grandmother showed me how the old-timey rocket larkspur (Consolida ajacis)with its tall spires of pink, blue, purple and white, has a rabbit face in each blossom! When I show it to all my garden visitors, and as I share the seeds, which should be planted in the fall, I expect recipients to pass the story along as well.
Violet to brown tinted centers on these clematis flowers contrast strikingly with pure white petals. The largest blossoms appear on plants in early summer, followed by smaller flowers on new stems in midsummer to early fall. Gardeners often grow ‘Henryi’ as a trailing clematis at ground level, letting stems tumble along and cascade over rock walls. For best flowering, prune stems in late winter or early spring, cutting stems back to 6 to 9 inches above a pair of fat buds. Vines grow 6 to 10 feet tall and 3 to 6 feet wide. Hardy in Zones 4-8.
Inside the wet room, a sloped shower floor and linear drain system eliminates the need for a shower door, creating universal access and a feeling of openness. The plank tile is continued vertically up the rear shower wall, while the adjacent walls are tiled in iridescent white porcelain for maximum reflection of natural light. Because the window offers spectacular city skyline views, a curtain of beaded crystal is hung to create a permeable layer of privacy and to represent falling beads of water. The installation of a living orchids wall completes the experience of showering outdoors within the city.
Bergenia stages a multi-season color show in a part shade to full sun spot. Cool seasons deepen leaves to brilliant red hues, and spring welcomes the arrival of bright pink blossoms that beckon hummingbirds. Leaves fade to green through summer, until fall frosts bring out red tones. Unlike other bergenia, ‘Flirt’ has small leaves that put blooms center stage. Deer-resistant, drought-tolerant plants grow 6 inches tall by 9 inches wide. Bergenia is evergreen in the Deep South, where winter color is strong. Hardy in Zones 4-9.
For late season color, it’s tough to be New York ironweed (Vernonia noveboracensis). This native plant hails from the Eastern part of the country; choose Western ironweed for gardens in the Great Plains and West. Purple flowers start opening in late summer and linger into fall, providing a late season nectar source for butterflies and other pollinating insects. Watch for migrating hummingbirds to visit this bloomer. Goldfinches and sparrows feast on the seed. Use ironweed in the back of the border or wildlife garden. Grows 4 to 7 feet tall by 2 to 4 feet wide. Hardy in Zones 5-8.
One of the most successful ways to keep a muted space from falling flat is to layer in several shades of the same color using pillows and throws. The large-scale butterfly pillow in the armchair has slightly more purple in it than the upholstery fabric, resulting in a subtle, sophisticated layering effect. When layering shades of mauve and lavender, it’s important to stay away from those with beige undertones: they’ll end up reading more in the pink or flesh-tone family.
Apply fertilizer to your lawn in early fall. Look for a fertilizer with a formula designed to meet your lawn's needs and follow application instructions on the product. The numbers on a fertilizer bag, in N-P-K order, indicate the percentage of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium, respectively, on weight basis. If you aren’t sure what your lawn needs, consult with a lawn care or landscape professional. A soil test can determine what ratio is best for your lawn. Be sure to check with your local agricultural extension office, as some locations regulate the time of year that fertilizer can be applied to reduce runoff.
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.
Don’t toss those apple peels, unless you’re adding them to your compost pile, which is a great idea in fall when dried leaves overwhelm compost with brown matter. Apple peels are versatile in the kitchen, filling roles from salad topper, to pot cleaner (they work wonders on stained aluminum cookware, thanks to the acid they contain), to pancake and waffle ingredient (chop and mix into batter with a little cinnamon—yum!). Or turn apple peels into a can’t-resist snack by tossing with melted butter, cinnamon-sugar mix and a pinch of salt. Spread on a baking sheet and roast at 400°F for 10-12 minutes. Store in an airtight container.
Like brunnera, bergenias are great for brightening up shady areas in your garden. Their small blooms are charming in a woodland setting, as a groundcover, in borders or in a cottage garden. Give the plants moist soil that’s rich in organic matter and shade to partial shade. They’ll bloom in spring. By fall, some of the leaves will turn brown, while others will become purplish-bronze. Remove the dead leaves, but let the others remain over the winter. Bergenia is hardy in zones 3-9. This variety is 'Pink Dragon'.
If you’re looking for an ornamental grass that delivers fall interest, check out Korean feather reed grass (Calamagrostis brachytricha). Large, foot-long seedhead plumes soar above leaves in late summer, donning a pink tinge that matures to tan. Seedheads dry well and make a nice addition to dried arrangements, or let them age naturally in the garden where they’ll add interest all winter long. Korean feather reed grass likes moist soil and tolerates heavy clay soil. Cut plants to the ground in early spring. Leaves grow 36 inches tall and 20 to 24 inches wide. Seedheads stand 12 inches above leaves. Hardy in Zones 4-9.
Fill your garden with the spicy clove fragrance of ‘First Love’ dianthus. Also known as cheddar pink, dianthus is a strong garden performer, unfurling flowers from mid-spring until fall frost. Removing spent blooms on plants ensures a steady, season-long flower show. Like other dianthus, ‘First Love’ is a short-lived perennial, lasting just a few years in the garden. Flowers open pure white and fade to bright rose. In winter, evergreen leaves add color to the garden in warmer regions. Plants grow 14 to 20 inches tall and 12 to 16 inches wide. Hardy in Zones 3-9.
A reminder that Atlanta environs can suddenly go from concrete jungle to tree-filled, natural oasis in a split second, this longtime area standard, Ray's on the River is an especially worthwhile stop in good weather (i.e. spring or fall) when you can dine on crab cakes, lobster mac and cheese, shrimp and grits and other high-end spins on comfort food with a relaxing view of the Chattahoochee River. Ray's is especially beloved as a buffet-style brunch option and while the prices are high and service can be uneven, for a special, scenic meal that takes in the city's natural beauty, it can be a worthwhile stop.
Now tuck in as many stems of winterberries as desired. Keep them going in the same direction as the already-assembled pine cuttings. Push them down far enough to hold them securely in the wire structure of the wreath. Toss any berries that fall off into a martini glass to display at your bar or on the mantle, or add them to a basket of potpourri in the guest bath (remove the berries when they start to go brown or shrivel). Keep winterberries away from pets; they can be toxic.
Look closely at these bookcases and note that they’re built on industrial disc casters, designed to be beautiful and practical office/room dividers. They’re literally colorful, moveable walls. Hanson Hsu of Delta H Design Inc. designed them with both form and function in mind. The shorter, higher shelves hold smaller books, which are lighter. The middle three shelves hold standard-sized binders and/or medium-sized books, while the very tall lower shelves are for large-format art, architecture and photography books, which can be heavy and cumbersome, therefore easier to handle down low. These bookshelves are constructed of walnut and have a frosted Plexiglas backing so the books don’t fall through.
Virginia creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia) is a classic native vine heralded for its vivid red fall color. ‘Yellow Wall’ takes the native to a new place with leaves that turn a striking gold in autumn. This is a fast, easy-growing vine that does well in part to full sun. In the wild, Virginia creeper often scales trees as vines reach for the sun. In the garden, give it the sturdy support of a pergola or well-anchored arch. Avoid planting ‘Yellow Wall’ against a building, because it attaches directly to surfaces with organic holdfasts that are tough to remove. Plants grow 20 to 30 feet tall and wide. Hardy in Zones 3-9.