For colorful leaves that thrive in shade, it’s tough to beat caladium. This variety, Artful Fire and Ice, unfurls leaves that look like a painter crafted them with splashes of green, pink, rose and white. Give caladiums a spot in full to part shade, although in northern gardens, plants can withstand more sun. Keep soil consistently moist for best growth and color. You’ll know you’re failing if leaves turn yellow and drop. Fire and Ice caladium grows 18 to 30 inches tall and12 to 18 inches wide. The other annuals in this container thrive in part shade: Diamond Frost euphorbia and Black Cherry Supertunia.
Most bulbs can’t take moist soil, but camass lily (Camassia leichtlinii 'Caerulea') is an exception. This heirloom beauty dates to 1853 and goes by a host of names, including wild hyacinth, quamash and Leichtlin’s camass. It’s a must-have bulb for spring color because it brings strong blue tones to the garden during the time between spring daffodils and tulips. Flowers open in spikes surrounded by deer- and rabbit-resistant leaves. Plants naturalize readily to form drifts of color when conditions are right. This beauty grows 24 to 30 inches tall. Hardy in Zones 4-8.
Some clematis flowers release a sweet perfume that can scent an entire yard. ‘Sweet Summer Love’ is that kind of plant. This clematis blossoms all summer long, and each bloom is filled with sweet floral fragrance. On hot humid days, the scent hangs in the air. Blossoms open a cranberry hue and shift to purple as they age. Best of all, ‘Sweet Summer Love’ won’t invade your garden with unwanted seedlings (like its cousin, sweet autumn clematis). Vines grow 10 to 15 feet tall and 6 to 10 feet wide—a great choice for an entry arch or pergola over a patio. Hardy in Zones 4-9.
Give your yard’s shady spot a splash of color courtesy of Dear Dolores hydrangea (Hydrangea macrophylla ‘Wyatt LeFever’). This bigleaf or mophead hydrangea opens 8-inch flower heads all season long—pink in alkaline soil, blue in acidic. (Add aluminum sulfate to soil to make it acidic.) The first wave of flowers appears in spring, followed by blossoms from summer to fall. Prune after flowering and/or in early spring to shape the plant. This classic bloomer grows 5 feet tall and wide. Hardy in Zones 5-9. Good to know: Mulch soil around hydrangea to help maintain moisture and keep weeds down.
Fill your garden with the rich scent of Old Roses by including this pretty climber. ‘St. Swithun’ is a showstopper, opening fully double pink blooms with over 120 petals. Flowers appear reliably all season long, releasing a pure myrrh fragrance. This is an English rose packed with disease resistance, making it a breeze to grow. Train it on an arbor or well-anchored arch. Plants grow to 8 feet tall and 4 feet wide. Hardy in Zones 5-9. Why we love it: The intense scent is alluring and a perfect complement to an entry garden or outdoor seating area.
Hand-picked Japanese Denuchi Koi may be seen frolicking in three bays as they swim among mostly tropical water plants. The 30,000-gallon water garden incorporates 205 tons of Erie-Banded Taconite, along with 50 tons of grey trap. A series of four waterfalls tops out over 6 feet tall and circulates approximately 25,000 gallons of water per hour. The waterfalls deliver an enveloping melody that completely masks all traffic sound. The design juxtaposes strict formal lines and shapes with free-form movement and informality. This contrast is unusually refreshing and accentuates the motif. Traditional Balinese Gardens utilize water and represent life and pleasure to the Indonesian people.
Discover the shrubby side of clematis with this upright version of the classic vine. ‘Stand By Me’ grows to a shrub-like form that doesn’t need a trellis like a traditional vining clematis, although it does benefit from a little support. This clematis features beautiful blue blooms that dangle like bells and open from late spring through midsummer. After flowers fade, they form fuzzy seedheads that are eye-catching and fun. Plants grow 34 to 38 inches tall by 24 to 28 inches wide. Hardy in Zones 3-7. ‘Stand By Me’ clematis belongs to Pruning Group 3.
Many critters have a taste for tomatoes, including squirrels and chipmunks. When these animals are the culprits behind tomato damage, you see something like this: a bite (or three) missing from a ripe tomato. Occasionally they nibble green tomatoes, but most often it’s the ripe ones they choose. If birds are eating your tomatoes, you’ll see more of a piercing, pecking-type wound that’s often triangular in shape. The best way to outsmart varmints is to protect ripening ‘maters. Either pick them slightly under-ripe and let them continue to ripen indoors, or cover plants or individual fruits with bird netting.
Choose from three types of peas to plant (left to right): snow peas, garden peas and snap peas. Sometimes called Chinese pea pods, snow peas (left) are the one used in stir-fries and can be eaten raw or cooked. Garden peas (middle) are also known as sweet peas, English peas or shelling peas. These peas have to be removed from the pod before cooking. When you buy a bag of frozen peas, this is what you’re getting. Snap peas (right, aka sugar snap peas) are a cross between snow peas and garden peas. With snap peas, you eat the whole plump pod with the peas inside—it’s a crunchy, sweet bite.
A terrarium made from old windows and architectural elements is a great place to display holiday greenery, a nativity, ornaments, plants or outdoor candles. Home decor blogger Amy Buchanan of AttaGirlSays also clipped greenery and holly berries from her yard for this terrarium on her front porch, which contributes to the rustic style with vintage appeal. When working with old windows and painted wood, be sure to test for lead paint, Buchanan says.
Since this property overlooks the Pacific Ocean, evening breezes can become quite cool and possibly making evening use not as desirable as one would hope for. Therefore, it was important to provide a cozy outdoor gathering space that is out of the wind, and this space between the home and its Casita provides an excellent location for spending time in front of a warm fireplace, while it also provides for an excellent highlight feature when walking to the front door.
The clients thought the fireplace alone would be sufficient as a design feature, but after showing them that by adding the short wall, with several view-ports accented with wrought iron (that matches their Juliet balcony) it not only provided a true connect between the home and Casita, it also created a much more grand feature and a sense of enclosure without losing the planting depth behind the fireplace, which was needed for privacy.
Who doesn’t want color in every season? As an old-fashioned but dependable alternative to mass-produced “cushion” mum, which are often short lived, there are many larger-flowering antique chrysanthemums which are easy to root from stem cuttings or divide from old clumps. Stake them to keep them from being floppy, tip-prune new growth in late spring and mid-summer to keep plants compact with more flowers. Root the clippings to share with others.
Also called landscape fabric or weed cloth, this type of mulch is usually woven polypropylene fabric. It suppresses weeds while allowing water and air to pass. It’s often used under inorganic mulches, such as stone or landscape glass, but also under shredded hardwood bark to help extend its lifespan. Landscape fabric comes in different grades; the label should state how long it will last. This is a commercial grade fabric that’s woven and needle punched with a 20-year warranty. The colored lines are 12 inches apart, which helps with spacing plants, especially in vegetable gardens.
Beautiful blue needles make this columnar cedar a real head-turner. It has a narrow spread that makes it well-suited to smaller spaces. Plants grow up to 1 foot per year, reaching 12-15 feet tall and 5-6 feet wide in 10 years. Final mature size is 40 feet high and 25 feet wide. Hardy in Zones 6 to 9. Botanical name: Cedrus atlantica ‘Glauca Fastigiata’
Rain gardens can even pop up and work effectively on parking lot areas. After removing asphalt, a rain garden basin could be built along this parking area of Totem Ocean Trailer Express, a shipping and cargo company at the Port of Tacoma, Washington. A traditional rain garden basin planting features a mix of shrubs, perennials and ground covers. The green container is a rain garden in a box. Rain gardens at this site handle roughly 250,000 gallons of rain water runoff annually, which reduces the amount of toxic pollutants washing into nearby Commencement Bay. If designers can build a working rain garden on a parking lot, you can make one work in your yard.
Carrots, sweet potatoes, onions and garlic are some of the more common root vegetables cooks use everyday but there are plenty of other less common but equally delicious varieties you can try such as Salsify. Some people call it the oyster plant due to its flavor. Sow the seeds in early spring when the soil temperature has reached 40 degrees and expect to harvest the salsify in 120 to 150 days. Add it to soups and stews or serve it mashed with a little butter and cream.
When you want flexibility with your wall storage, the new Perch line from Urbio is a good solution. Designed to be modular, the vessels and wall plate in this wall organization system are magnetic and come in three- or five-piece starter kits that keep plants, kitchen utensils, art supplies and more within easy reach. The Perch line includes 3M Command Strips for easy installation and damage free removal, or stows for a more permanent placement.
‘Smoke Signal’ is a selection of a native grass known as little bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparium). This variety offers strong, upright stems that maintain their erect posture through fall. Leaves also stage a good fall color show, shifting from red (late summer) to reddish-purple (fall). Tan seedheads appear above leaves in autumn. This sturdy grass grows 3 to 4 feet tall and forms a clump up to 2 feet wide. It’s a great choice for a hot, dry spot where other plants won’t grow. ‘Smoke Signal’ is drought- and salt-tolerant, and deer leave it alone. Hardy in Zones 3-9.