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.
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.
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.
When most people think of clematis, they picture something like the luxurious, deep purple blooms of ‘The President.’ This beauty is a traditional clematis vine, happy to clamber up a trellis or blanket a fence. ‘The President’ opens its first flush of flowers in late spring to early summer, followed by a second blooming with smaller flowers in early autumn. Prune in late winter or early spring, cutting vines back to 6 to 9 inches tall. Place cuts just above a pair of strong buds. These deer- and rabbit-resistant plants grow 8 to 12 feet tall by 3 to 4 feet wide. Hardy in Zones 4-8.
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’
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
‘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.
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'.
Once your holiday amaryllis blooms, keep your plant in a room that’s on the cool side to help the flowers last longer, and give them bright light and evenly moist soil. When the flowers fade, cut back the stalks to just above the bulb, and let the leaves continue to grow. Water and fertilize throughout the next summer and,if you moved your amaryllis outdoors, bring it back in before frost. If your amaryllis dies back completely, it’s probably gone dormant; stop watering until new growth appears.
Consider native red buckeye (Aesculus pavia) for a small tree that looks good through many seasons. It unfurls red flower spikes that are a hummingbird magnet. Typical chestnut-type fruits form in fall with three nuts per hull. Give red buckeye full sun in all zones, with afternoon shade in the South. It will also grow and flower in part shade. Plants need consistent moisture for healthiest leaves. Red buckeye often forms multiple trunks. Prune it to one for a more tree-like appearance. Size: 12 to 15 feet tall and wide. Hardy in Zones 4-8.
Dress forms are to be expected in the home of a fashion designer, but few dress forms display such an array of global pieces. Both forms are decorated with beaded necklaces from Ghana while the smaller one sports a neckpiece made in Paris. Along with the beads, the larger form wears a small golden pouch that Nana Yaa picked up while traveling in Israel. It also displays her collection of colorful Ghanaian hats, one of her favorite summer accessories, which weave leather together with plant fibers.
Inside a true bulb is a central shoot that contains layers of leaves and immature flowers. With bulbs planted in your garden, this central shoot forms after flowers fade. This is why it’s important to let leaves of bulbs like tulips and daffodils remain and stay green until they naturally die back. As long as leaves are green, they’re helping to store food that helps form the shoot for next year’s show. Most true bulbs have a protective papery skin (think onion, daffodil, tulip). An exception to this rule are the lilies, including Asiatic and Oriental types.