While you don't often see heucheras grown as houseplants, these low-light perennials can be potted up in fall and briefly enjoyed indoors. Just be sure to return them to the garden when the weather warms back up. The plants, also known as coral bells, bloom in spring, so give them the cool, spring-like temperatures they prefer. They'll also benefit from being housed in a deep pot, rather than a shallow one. Shown here: heuchera 'Mint Julep'
Include beautiful lavender in your garden plans to help keep biting mosquitoes at bay. Varieties with higher camphor properties are the most effective insect repellents. This includes ‘Provence’ and ‘Grosso’ lavender. On a sunny day, lavender releases its aromatic oils naturally. In the evening, reap its bug-busting benefits by crushing flower buds and leaves and rubbing them on your skin. Tuck lavender into pots or planting beds. Grab lavender topiaries if your outdoor seating areas feature a formal flair.
Perfect for pots or the front of a border, ‘Burgundy Bunny’ miniature fountain grass (Pennisetum alopecuroides) brings cute color to any setting. This small ornamental grass showcases light red hue in summer, followed by blazing reds in fall. The small seedheads appear in late summer and linger until harsh winter weather blasts them apart. This grass works well in rock gardens or low water-use landscapes. Plants grow 12 to 16 inches tall and up to 16 inches wide. Hardy in Zones 5-9.
Thyme, including red creeping thyme (shown), possesses excellent mosquito repelling properties. The secret is to crush the leaves to release the volatile oils. You can simply place crushed stems around outdoor seating areas or rub the leaves on skin or clothing. Burning thyme leaves also shows skeeters the door, providing 85 to 90 percent protection for up to 90 minutes. Lemon thyme, silver thyme, English thyme, creeping thyme—all types offer some degree of mosquito protection. Tuck them into pots, or use them to edge planting beds.
Amy has a way with mixing styles at home. In this reading nook a mid-century chair, a brass lamp from the '80s and a centuries-old carved stone fireplace come together seamlessly. Behind the lounge, two ancient tree stumps that have crystallized over millions of years are the oldest pieces in the home. And plants in earthenware pots reinforce the earth tone color scheme while adding to the nature-inspired feel of the room. Amy’s ability to layer neutrals helps bring pieces from various periods together beautifully.
Carex is famous for its love of moist soil, and Toffee Twist is no exception. Coppery leaves give this perennial a striking look that improves any planting—in pots or beds. Toffee Twist carex resembles an ornamental grass and grows best in full to part sun. One important distinction with carex is that it behaves like a cool-season grass, growing actively in the cool seasons—spring and fall. These are the best times of year to divide or transplant this bronze beauty. Plants grow 18 to 24 inches tall and wide. Hardy in Zones 7-10.
Container gardens add splashes of portable color to outdoor settings, but if you love pots of color, you also know it can take daily attention to keep plants looking their best. One way to expedite the care routine is to fill your containers with shrubs that deliver strong color for the entire growing season. Shrubs typically need less grooming than annuals and do their thing as long as you water. This pair of shrubs features Bangle Dyers greenwood (Genista lydia) and Black Lace elderberry (Sambucus nigra ‘Eva’). Both of these shrubs flower in spring, but the leaves bring strong color and texture all season long.
‘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.
Introduced in 1998 at the famed Chelsea Flower Show in England, this double clematis steals the spotlight in any planting. Flowers unfurl in shades of lilac, with a lighter ruffed center. The outer, largest petals (botanically they’re called tepals) fade and drop, leaving a petal pompom in the center of blooms. Flowers last up to 4 weeks, filling the summer garden with striking color. For best flowering, remove top growth by one-third in early spring. Vines grow 6 to 8 feet tall by 3 feet wide. Grow on a trellis or fence, in a pot or through a shrub rose. Hardy in Zones 4 to 9.
How gorgeous is this combo of copper pot, chunky purple amethyst, hawthoria 'Zebra' and sempervivum? To create this look, cut your hen and chicks (sempervivum) and position at an angle in the pot, filling your container with cactus potting mix. Rocks at the bottom of the container help with drainage. End the design with your amethyst and moss. Don't forget to soak your hen and chicks every two weeks and replace. Lightly water your hawthoria with about one tablespoon of water every two weeks.
Keep in mind, says Fried, that you can make your succulent designs even more easy care by using succulent cuttings rather than planting them in containers. Cut where the root begins, says Fried and position in your container. Cuttings can be easily changed out. Just remember to soak your cuttings every two or three weeks in a bowl of water and they should last for months without roots. When you are done with your arrangement you can place the cutting in soil in a container or in your backyard and "watch it root and grow" says Fried.
The classic corsage flower, gardenia delivers fragrance—and ‘Sweet Tea’ is no exception. Pure white, tennis ball-size blooms contrast beautifully with waxy, deep green leaves. Plants grow 3 to 5 feet tall and wide, with a strong upright shape. The secret to a happy gardenia in the landscape is thick mulch, no soil disturbance (roots like to be left alone) and monthly feeding with an acid fertilizer, blood meal or fish emulsion. Grow ‘Sweet Tea’ as a hedge, or tuck it in a pot you can place beside your favorite outdoor seat to keep the perfume close at hand. Hardy in Zones 7 to 10.
Black-eyed susan vine (Thunbergia alata) takes on a new hue with Tangerine Slice A-Peel. The flowers on this variety unfurl in playful shades of orange and red. Black-eyed susan vine is a cinch to grow. It happily clambers up an arch and delivers non-stop blooms all summer long. This vine also adapts well to growing in pots on a tepee trellis. Give this beauty a spot in full sun, except in the Deep South, where afternoon shade is welcome. Butterflies and other pollinator insects visit blooms, adding to the color show. Plants grow 5 to 8 feet tall by 18 to 24 inches wide. Annual vine, hardy in Zones 10-11.
Black-eyed susan vine (Thunbergia alata) takes on a new hue with Lemon A-Peel. The flowers on this variety unfurl in a clear lemon yellow hue like living sunshine. Easy-growing black-eyed susan vine covers a trellis with non-stop blooms all summer long. It adapts well to growing in pots on a tepee trellis. Give this vine full sun, except in the Deep South, where afternoon shade is welcome. Butterflies and other pollinator insects visit blooms, adding to the color show. Plants grow 5 to 8 feet tall by 18 to 24 inches wide. Annual vine, hardy in Zones 10-11. Why we love it: This vine opens non-stop flowers—and it never needs deadheading.