Tall, upright snapdragon takes a tumble in this beautiful trailing form. Candy Showers snapdragon is a trailing type that creates a stunning hanging basket or eye-catching spiller plant in a container. Or use it to fill a planting bed with season long color. Flowers open in shades of purple, yellow, red, orange and rose on plants that grow 12 to 24 inches long. This snapdragon tolerates summer heat and sun, but also stages a strong show in shade.
‘Stargazer’ Oriental lily unfurls large blooms that exude a rich perfume. Petals are deep pink with a white edge. Oriental lily grows from a bulb that can be planted in fall or spring. Top-heavy stems grow to 3 feet and benefit from staking. Add stakes at planting time to help avoid spearing bulbs. Flowers appear in midsummer and can scent an entire yard on a steamy summer evening. Grow Oriental lilies in planting beds or containers. Hardy in Zones 3-9.
One of the fastest ways to drop an edge between lawn and planting areas is using concrete edger or paver stones set upright, on edge. Cast from concrete, these stones create the most effective edging if they’re dug into soil so the base sits slightly below lawn level. Keep an eye out for grass creeping around or under concrete edgers. Hand pull or spot spray with grass killer. Look for concrete edgers in a variety of shapes and colors. They give a garden a more formal flair, which looks nice whether it’s lining beds full of flowers, herbs or vegetables.
Designer Alice Cramer includes a soft and cuddly fur throw at the foot of the bed in this muted, grey-toned bedroom. As Cramer attests, the holidays don't have to be complicated. Use things you already have and just add the bling with seasonal touches. "Nothing prettier to a tabletop," says Cramer, "than simple glass containers of different sizes filled with cranberries, red berries, greenery and floating votive candles. Mix it in with silver service pieces filled with white flowers and various candlesticks." It's a look that works for a beautiful tabletop, or in accent tables in a guest room.
Beloved for its ability to beckon bees, butterflies and hummingbirds, bee balm (Monarda) also earns rave reviews for its mosquito-repelling qualities. For many insect-deterring plants to work, you have to crush leaves or blooms to release the plant’s volatile oils. Bee balm is an exception to that rule. As it grows and blooms in your garden, it releases fragrances mosquitoes dislike (so does basil, by the way). Bee balm is a perennial that flowers in a variety of colors and plant sizes. This beauty is Balmy Rose monarda, which is a compact type growing to 1 foot high. It’s a great choice for edging beds or tucking into containers.
‘Karl Foerster’ is a commonly used feather reed grass (Calamagrostis acutiflora)—and it’s easy to see why. Plants form strongly upright clumps that are perfect for creating a living screen or a backdrop for flowering perennials. Wheat-like seedheads appear in late spring and linger through the growing season. ‘Karl Foerster’ tolerates heavy clay soils and is deer-resistant. It doesn’t self-seed, so won’t try to take over your planting beds. Plants grow to 5 feet tall and up to 2 feet wide. Hardy in Zones 4-8.
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.
Shady spots explode with color when you draft botany’s big guns for shade: caladium, begonia and ivy. This pot showcases classic container garden design. A white and green caladium stands in as thriller, with Dragon Wing Pink begonia as filler and green ivy as spiller. It’s a blend that easily fits on any porch or deck to bring season-long color. Dragon Wing begonias are a shade all-star, strutting their stuff in part to full shade. These begonias are low maintenance, heat tolerant beauties that pump out flowers until fall’s first frost. This planting combination looks great in a pot, but would transition easily to planting beds, too.
‘Kirigami’ ornamental oregano isn’t meant for the kitchen—it’s purely a garden delight with its colorful bracts and lightly fragrant flowers. In autumn’s cool nights, the rose-purple bracts on ‘Kirigami’ (Origanum x hybrid ‘Kirigami’) deepen in color. Look for this beauty in spring to grow all summer long and into fall. Or pick it up at garden centers in autumn to decorate outdoor spaces until hard frost arrives. This oregano is winter hardy in planting beds in Zones 5b-8b. Tuck it into the garden at least six weeks before hard frost to help ensure winter survival. Next spring, dig it and pot it, or enjoy its trailing stems in the garden.
A non-native, invasive plant, garlic mustard grows in sun or shade, dry soil or wet. Its roots produce a chemical that inhibits other plants from growing. Thanks to these adaptations, it quickly colonizes areas. In many regions it’s displacing native forest plants, and in backyard gardens, it can quickly take over planting beds. Garlic mustard is a biennial, producing a small rosette of toothed, kidney shape leaves in Year 1, followed by a tall stem topped with flowers in Year 2. Remove (pull up stems and roots) and destroy any garlic mustard that appears on your property, putting it out with the trash.
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.
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.
Killing actual dandelion plants is one tactic in the war on this weed. Another is creating an environment where dandelion seeds can’t successfully germinate. To do this, use a pre-emergent herbicide like corn gluten meal or Preen. This type of weedkiller interferes with seed germination, which means seeds can’t produce a plant. Use corn gluten meal in fall and early spring (about the time forsythia flowers). Another technique to make your yard unfriendly to dandelion seeds is to mulch planting beds, and don’t cut your lawn shorter than 2 to 3 inches. Taller grass grows thicker, shading soil so dandelion seeds can’t sprout.
The four-lined plant bug attacks perennials, creating 1/16-inch square dead patches in leaves as they feed. These bugs create more of a cosmetic problem that plants often outgrow, but when numbers are high, the damage can lead to browned, misshapen and dying leaves, which you might mistake for disease. Four-lined plant bugs emerge about the time that forsythia leaves unfold. They’re shy and crafty hiders, so you’ll likely see the damage long before you spot one of them. The best way to control these bugs is twofold. First, in midsummer, when the insects disappear, cut back plants that have been attacked, snipping below the damage. This should remove any eggs that have been laid inside stems. Pruning like this delays flowering on perennials, but the plants will branch and become bushy, which means more flowers. Second, in fall, clean up all stems and leaf litter in the bed. Take care to remove all stems of plants the insect attacked during the growing season. Eggs that will hatch the following spring are typically laid inside those stems, so don’t add them to your compost pile.
This is one of my favorite master bedrooms of all time. It immediately reads as a luxury destination. This was the last space we designed in our original scope of work and I wanted everything we chose to have as much tactile appeal as it did visually. Wherever you land, you’ll sink down into lush velvets, silks, furs or mohair. The color palette is small but soothing, varying from dark chocolates to taupes with dashes of white to keep it crisp and reflect light. We used a faux silk wallcovering in the bedroom’s entry and on the bed wall, but conserved by using a perfect color-matched paint on the walls adjacent. I know it may seem a little indulgent but whenever you can, try adding fresh flowers or an orchid in your bedroom: instant hotel suite status!
Mint is a workhorse in the garden when it comes to giving insects the brush off. To release the strong mint oils in leaves, brush against plants or crush leaves and rub on skin or clothing. Try tucking lightly bruised leaves (still attached to stems) into pockets or bouquets on your porch or patio to confuse and repel mosquitoes. This minty beauty (foreground) is variegated pineapple mint, but you can also use any mint, including spearmint, lemon mint or peppermint. Mints spread aggressively in the garden. Always plant it in containers, even in beds, keeping the edge of pots elevated at least an inch above soil. When mint flowers, the blooms attract beneficial insects, including ones that sting, like wasps. If you don’t want these insects near seating areas, keep plants trimmed so blooms don’t form.
A native plant, trumpet vine (Campsis radicans) is a fast-growing beauty that scales an arch or pergola in a season. It’s famous for trumpet blooms that unfurl in bold orange shades, although you can also find varieties with yellow or red flowers. Blooms are a magnet for hummingbirds and other pollinators. Trumpet vine stems can wander underground, invading planting beds and disrupting patios. It’s best planted not too close to buildings, but makes a perfect choice for training on a yard or garden entry arch or pergola. Prune vines hard in early spring. Plants grow 20 to 30 feet tall and 6 to 8 feet wide. Hardy in Zones 4 to 9. Use caution planting trumpet vine in Zone 6 or warmer, where mild winters allow rampant (some say invasive) growth.