Why not put that quirky collection to good use? Whether you collected marbles as a child or accumulate corks as an adult, either can be used as a vase filler for a floral centerpiece. Find a large, clear hurricane or vase, fill two-thirds full with corks,then arrange your favorite seasonal flowers for a simple and unique centerpiece.
Individual blossoms on the flower spike of gas plant appear to have eyelashes, thanks to long, curling stamens. Gas plant offers a long flower season, from late spring through midsummer, and you can find varieties with blooms in shades of lavender, pink and red. Once flowers fade, seedpods form that linger into early winter and make a nice addition to autumn arrangements. Site this perennial where you want it (full sun is best), because it doesn’t transplant easily. Small seedlings tend to form around the mother plant, and those can be moved with little fuss. Deer- and rabbit-resistant plants grow 28 to 32 inches tall by 18 to 24 inches wide. Hardy in Zones 3-7. Good vase companions for gas plant: bearded iris, peony, bee balm and lady’s mantle.
Summer-flowering larkspurs are lovely in dried arrangements. Cut the stems just before the blooms are completely open and strip away the leaves. Then tie the stems together and hang them upside down from a coat hanger, hook or clothesline to air-dry for a few weeks. Keep them out of the sun and make sure they have good air circulation. If there’s a lot of moisture in the room, you may need to use a dehumidifier to help prevent mold and mildew. Shown here: 'Guardian Lavender' (Delphinum elatum).
Native perennial anise hyssop earns its keep in the garden by filling many roles. Offering beautiful cut flowers is just one of them. Known botanically as Agastache foeniculum, anise hyssop is a strong pollinator plant, bringing bees, butterflies and many beneficial insects to the garden. Leaves can be used to flavor drinks with a hint of anise, and small purple petals offer a burst of licorice flavor. Flower spikes are sturdy and work in a bouquet with or without the actual tiny lavender blooms. They provide structure and a vertical accent in arrangements. Deer-and rabbit-resistant plants grow 24 to 48 inches tall and 18 to 36 inches wide. Hardy in Zones 4-8. Good vase companions for anise hyssop: purple coneflower, echibeckia, hosta, gas plant and garden phlox.
If you’re an avid rock collector, you can put your collection to good use as a lawn edging along flower beds. With this type of lawn edging, use any size of stones, arranging them to create a visual tapestry of color and texture. Many gardeners who opt for a mixed stone edging rely on a spritz of grass killer to keep turf from growing around and between rocks. It creates a look like this at first, with the grass being straw colored and dead. After the grass dies, it breaks down, and the rocks take the spotlight.
Go native with false indigo, a prairie plant that’s low maintenance and gorgeous. Pretty blue-purple flower spikes appear in late spring and make a great addition to a garden-fresh bouquet. Leaves have a blue-green tone that looks stunning in a vase—harvest stems all season long. Dried seedpods make a nice addition to fall arrangements. This is a tap-rooted perennial, which means it’s not easy to move once established. Plant it where you know it can stay put. False indigo offers different flower colors, including blends of blue, yellow, brown and white. The variety shown is ‘Blueberry Sundae.’ False indigo are deer-resistant plants that grow 4 feet tall by 3 to 4 feet wide. Hardy in Zones 3-9. Good vase companions for false indigo: bearded iris, peony, clustered bellflower, purple coneflower and echibeckia.
Welcome butterflies and a host of other pollinators (including bees) by planting butterfly weed (Asclepias tuberosa). Despite the name, this native plant doesn’t behave like a weed, taking over a garden. Plants are slow to emerge in spring, appearing long after other plants. It’s a good idea to mark its spot to avoid disturbing it. Removing spent blooms keeps the flower show going, but stop in early fall to let seeds form. Seed pods make a nice addition to fall wreaths or arrangements. This is a host plant for monarch butterflies, feeding both caterpillars and adult butterflies. Grows 2 to 3 feet tall by 1 to 2 feet wide. Hardy in Zones 4-9.
Also known as coralbells, heucheras bring season-long color to the garden and vase with their tinted leaves. Look for heuchera in a host of shades, including gold, purple, lime green, burgundy, almost black and silver. In the garden, heuchera is versatile, growing in full sun to full shade. Some varieties have a specific light preference, so be sure to read the plant tag prior to purchase. Use heuchera leaves to add color to arrangements, or pick the airy flower spikes. Blossoms appear from early to midsummer, depending on variety. Deer-resistant plants grow 6 to 8 inches tall by 10 to 12 inches wide. Hardy in Zones 4-9. Good vase companions for heuchera: gas plant, Oriental lily, hosta leaves, zinnia and anise hyssop.
Whether you are near the Atlantic coast or not, great weather is always the perfect excuse for outdoor entertaining, and an oyster roast should be at the top of your list. Explore new ways to use what you have in your home to create a unique outdoor space for entertaining. Use these tips to elevate your outdoor party skills for a relaxed yet elegant experience your guests will be sure to remember all while bringing the beachfront to your front porch.
Why not use your local grocery store for inexpensive tabletop décor as an alternative to flowers? Nothing makes a more attractive table display than fresh vegetables, and no water is needed to keep these arrangements in bloom for your guests. When picking vegetables for your table, be sure to play with color and texture. A kitchen staple such as corn adds a great pop of color especially when paired with red potatoes and bright lemons.