Leanne Ford makes this living room feel as bright and fresh as a spring day with a white palette that bounces light around the space. A handful of quirky, character-rich details like the unusual light fixture and vintage cabinet help the room feel special, as seen on HGTV's Restored by the Fords.
From late winter through early spring, ‘Beauty’ Japanese plum brightens the landscape with delicate white flowers. The white blossoms fade to form tasty red plums in midsummer, earlier than other plums. This small edible fruit tree grows 12 to 15 feet tall and 10 to 15 feet wide. Plums make a nice addition to the home garden. 'Beauty' plum needs another plum for cross-pollination; ‘Shiro’ makes a good choice. Hardy in Zones 4-10.
Green leaves with wide, white edges help ‘Double Stuff’ Solomon’s seal provide eye-catching color in a woodland or shade garden. Fragrant flowers open in spring as white bell-shape blossoms that dangle along stems. Stems with or without blooms make a terrific addition to a garden bouquet. Deer-resistant plants grow 26 inches tall by 16 inches wide. Leaves fade to bright gold in fall. Hardy in Zones 3-8.
Add bright gold to stream or pondside plantings with Chinese globeflower (Trollius ‘Golden Queen’). Blooms open 2 to 3 inches across from late spring into midsummer on plants that grow 24 to 36 inches tall by 18 to 24 inches wide. Include this beauty in a cutting garden—its flowers make a great addition to bouquets. Chinese globeflower is a slow grower and takes one to two years to become fully established in the garden. Hardy in Zones 3-7.
If purple is your jam, you need to tuck clustered bellflower into your garden. The bright purple blossoms make a perfect addition to any late spring or early summer bouquet. Remove spent blooms to help extend the flower show. Blossoms beckon butterflies and other pollinators. Deer- and rabbit-resistant plants grow 15 to 16 inches tall and wide. Hardy in Zones 5-8. Good vase companions for clustered bellflower: bearded iris, baptisia, gas plant, lady’s mantle and coralbells.
Norfolk Island Pine
Evergreen Norfolk Island Pines aren't just fun houseplants; they also make great Christmas trees. Their after-holiday care is no different from their daily care. Give these tropicals high humidity and protect them from drafts. They prefer bright light, such as from a south-facing window, and should be watered when the top of the soil starts to feel dry. Don't keep them too wet or let them dry out completely. Feed with a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer in spring and summer, following label directions.
Need an ornamental grass for a spot with light shade? Check out autumn moor grass (Sesleria autumnalis). This non-native grass gets its name from the show it stages in autumn. That’s when tan seedheads appear, standing well above the clump of bright green leaves. Drought-tolerant and easy to grow, autumn moor grass holds its own in a mixed planting bed, adapts well to containers and makes an eye-catching planting en masse. Cut clumps to the ground in winter or very early spring. Plants grow 1 to 2 feet tall and wide. Hardy in Zones 4-8.
Small Living Room with Green Walls
When decorator Nick Olsen moved into his 525-square-foot studio in New York City, the walls were painted white, in keeping with small-space convention. "But the place just looked gray and dingy," says Olsen. And so, rather than just slapping on a newer, brighter coat of white, he painted the apartment's main room Oregano Green (Benjamin Moore 2147-10), in an oil-based metal enamel, to resemble lacquer.
"Although the apartment is small," says Olsen, "it's actually rather grand with 12-foot ceilings, huge windows and a high-relief fireplace. So I felt it would be a shame to tone it down with a pale color or white." For even more impact, he painted the doors glossy black and the trim white, and added a deep teal velvet sofa. Olsen didn't shy away from bright color in the 35- (yes, 35!) square-foot kitchen either, wallpapering the fridge in a bright spring pattern and painting the walls and the ceiling Sea Mist Green (Benjamin Moore #2041-50). "To make color work in a really tiny room like this kitchen," Olsen suggests, "paint the walls and ceilings the same color so you're eye doesn't stop at the ceiling line."