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.
Violas, dianthus and poppies breathe color into Walled Garden plantings after bulbs fade. Choose cool-season annuals to fill containers and planting beds with petals that shrug off late-spring cold snaps. Other good choices for early season flowers include pansy, forget-me-not, snapdragon, flowering stock and sweet alyssum. In beds, plant bloomers in blocks for a punch of can’t-miss color.
Woven baskets are a textured and practical addition to the modern bookshelf in this neutral kids' room. They conceal clutter and make it easy to organize children's things like toys, puzzles and games.
Catherine recommends homeowners decorating their first space take it slow. "I know people are eager to be done," she says, but don't rush into filling every nook and cranny right away. Instead, take the time to hit antique stores and consignment shops to find the perfect pieces for your new home. Catherine found the $25 rattan coffee table base in her living room at Atlanta's Scott's Antique Market and had a piece of glass cut to fit.
Catherine uses Thibaut Tanzania wallpaper in black on cream in her home's only bathroom to give it real impact. "Since it was our only bathroom," says Catherine, she decided to "make it fun." Even the ceiling is wallpapered for maximum effect.
Cuisinart's Griddler comes with two reversible cooking plates, with a grill on one side and griddle on the other. While the multifunctional appliance is compact and great for small spaces, the lid folds down to make the cooking surface area 200 square inches.