Give any room in your home a splash of calypso color with a tropical bromeliad. These exotic beauties have strappy leaves topped by clusters of red, orange, yellow, purple, or white flowers. The blossoms last for weeks, capturing attention in any setting. Bromeliads are easy to grow and look their best in medium to high light. Increase their impact by popping the plant into a complementary-colored cachepot.
Snow peas offer variety in flower and pod color. Purple snow peas bring a stronger flavor (it has a bitter nuance) and cheery color to the salad bowl. For strongest color, pick the youngest pods and use them raw or lightly sautéed. Longer cooking fades the hue to muddy tones. Purple snow peas make beautiful coleslaw, pasta salad or sandwich toppers. This variety is ‘Royal’ and is popular among chefs for its color and flavor.
Josh Swanson is mixing his passions, buying flowers that match the colors of his favorite NFL team, the Minnesota Vikings. He selected yellow mums, and white and purple pansies. Marigolds are the most popular annuals among millennial organic gardeners (24 percent), followed by pansies, geraniums, zinnias and impatiens (13 percent each), according to The Home Depot 2015 Fall Gardening Survey.
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.
Why we love it: Oakleaf hydrangea wins our hearts because of its multi-season interest. White flower clusters start opening in summer, quickly fade to pink hues, followed by brown sugar tones. Dried blooms linger into winter. Leaves turn stunning shades of purple, burgundy and red in fall.
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.
Known as blue wild indigo or blue false indigo (Baptisia australis), this native perennial achieves shrub size each growing season. Plants sink a deep tap root that searches out water to fuel top growth. Blue flower spikes appear in late spring, blending beautifully with the blue-green leaves. More stems appear each year, creating a full, lush plant. Snip blooms or branches for the vase. Grows 4 feet tall and 2 to 3 feet wide. Hardy in Zones 4-9. Look for new and smaller varieties with flowers in shades of pink, purple, yellow and brown.
‘Sweet Summer Love’ clematis is the hot weather cousin to sweet autumn clematis, a classic fall bloomer that opens sweetly scented flowers. ‘Sweet Summer Love’ clematis unfurls flowers all summer long—from July through September—that exude a sweet fragrance. On hot humid days, the scent hangs deliciously in the air. Blossoms start 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). Plants benefit from a hard pruning (cut stems to 6 inches tall) in late winter. Vines grow 10 to 15 feet tall and 6 to 10 feet wide—a great choice for an entry arch or trellis. Hardy in Zones 4-9.
Discover the native shrub with an odd name—Fothergilla—and wonderful multi-season interest. Fothergilla opens the year with fragrant white flowers in early spring. These blooms resemble bottlebrushes and provide a vital source of food for early pollinators. Flowers appear with leaves, which boast a pleated, strongly veined surface that’s eye-catching. Fall leaf color is stunning, with a single plant showcasing shades of orange, burgundy, purple and gold. Fothergilla thrives in part shade to full sun. Plants grow 6 to 10 feet tall by 5 to 9 feet wide. Hardy in Zones 4-8. Good to know: Fothergilla tends to send up many shoots and, if happy, forms colonies. Remove suckers as soon as they appear to keep your shrub to a modest footprint.
Hosta offers a wonderful array of leaf colors and sizes that provide beautiful greenery for a bouquet. Or, take a page from modern design and showcase a vase of hosta leaves—in one hue or a mixed variety. Hosta leaves hold up well in a vase, outlasting many garden flowers. This variety, ‘Loyalist,’ offers leaves with white centers and green edges. Many hostas also unfurl vase-worthy flower spikes at some point in the summer. Hosta plants can be miniature or giant, growing anywhere from 6 inches to 60 inches tall and wide. Hardy in Zones 3-9. Good vase companions for hosta: purple coneflower, gas plant, rose, bearded iris and peony.
In garden circles, plectranthus is known as the plant with a funny name that delivers big, strong color. ‘Velvet Elvis’ is no exception. Leaves offer a fuzzy touch with a deep green top and violet-purple underside. Lavender flowers rise on 4-inch spikes that last easily through summer heat. Use ‘Velvet Elvis’ in pots or planting beds—pair it with ‘Jack Frost’ brunnera or ‘All Gold’ Japanese forest grass (Hakonechloa macra ‘All Gold’). Plants grow 28 inches tall and 31 inches wide.
Some clematis showcase bicolor blooms. One of the most well-known in this category is ‘Nelly Moser.’ This beauty unfurls very big, 7- to 9-inch flowers in late spring and early summer, followed by a second bloom in early fall. Each blossom displays pale lilac petals with a glowing pink bar down the center. Colors tend to fade in full sun, so give ‘Nelly Moser’ a spot with light shade. Flower centers sport shades of deep purple. For best flowering, remove top growth by one-third in early spring. Vines grow 6 to 10 feet tall by 3 feet wide. Grow beside a porch where you can enjoy the bicolor blossoms on a daily basis. Hardy in Zones 4 to 8.
Set off a fall container garden with an array of colorful pumpkins and gourds. This pot showcases a planting combination that features pansy, ornamental or flowering kale and garden mums. For a thriller plant, purple fountain grass provides good height. A bushy rosemary plant offers a pretty textural contrast and background for the combination. Buy plants in larger pots with established root systems to ensure best survival.
Grow an old-fashioned favorite by planting a crop of sweet peas. This pretty bloomer was a favorite in the Victorian era, when nosegays of sweet peas were cherished for their fragrance. ‘Knee High Mix’ sweet pea features a blend of perfumed types that open flowers in shades of pink, lavender, rose, purple, burgundy and white. Sweet peas grow best in cool seasons. Plants peter out when summer heat and humidity arrive. ‘Knee High Mix’ grows shorter vines, reaching 2 to 3 feet tall. Annual.
The white walls and wood floors of this hallway are given a contemporary flair with a display of art. A thin, gold table holds a circular flower vase and covers a crystal formation. Three glass cases display matching purple, pink, orange and neutral diamond cut-outs in rows. A yellow slate is covered in black font words and numbers to finish the art display.
‘Sweet Summer Love’ clematis unfurls flowers all summer long that exude a sweet fragrance. On hot humid days, the scent hangs in the air. Blossom 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.
Bee balm (Monarda didyma) is a buffet of color and activity in the garden, beckoning all kinds of pollinators, including hummingbirds, butterflies and bumblebees. This bloomer kicks off the flower show in midsummer, ultimately sending up multiple flowers from a single stem. It makes a great addition to a bouquet, lasting a week or more in a vase. Bee balm comes in a host of colors, including pink, lavender, purple and red shades. Choose varieties that have good powdery mildew resistance. Look for varieties from short to this average size ‘Raspberry Wine’ bee balm, which grows 36 to 48 inches tall by 18 inches wide. Hardy in Zones 4-8.
Native to the Mediterranean region, the bay tree is widely cultivated as an ornamental there and as a houseplant in colder climates – mainly because it’s an excellent candidate for growing as a topiary. Hardy only to zone 7, it’s ideal for forming low hedges. Although it can grow into a tree up to 40 to 50 feet tall, bay is often maintained as a large shrub in containers. In spring, it puts out small yellow flowers, which by fall develop into dark purple berries.