If you’re looking for an ornamental grass that delivers fall interest, check out Korean feather reed grass (Calamagrostis brachytricha). Large, foot-long seedhead plumes soar above leaves in late summer, donning a pink tinge that matures to tan. Seedheads dry well and make a nice addition to dried arrangements, or let them age naturally in the garden where they’ll add interest all winter long. Korean feather reed grass likes moist soil and tolerates heavy clay soil. Cut plants to the ground in early spring. Leaves grow 36 inches tall and 20 to 24 inches wide. Seedheads stand 12 inches above leaves. Hardy in Zones 4-9.
The layered look is definitely in style when it comes to window treatments. From drapery panels to shades, these items now come lined for a number of reasons. Layers help to keep warm air in during the winter and out during the summertime, and also help protect furniture and decor from fading. Aesthetically, lined window treatments offer a high-end look. "Layers provide energy-saving qualities and make the face fabric hang much nicer for a custom look," says Janet Barragan, senior vice president of window design at Curtainworks. Image courtesy of Curtainworks
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'.
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.
Fill your garden with the spicy clove fragrance of ‘First Love’ dianthus. Also known as cheddar pink, dianthus is a strong garden performer, unfurling flowers from mid-spring until fall frost. Removing spent blooms on plants ensures a steady, season-long flower show. Like other dianthus, ‘First Love’ is a short-lived perennial, lasting just a few years in the garden. Flowers open pure white and fade to bright rose. In winter, evergreen leaves add color to the garden in warmer regions. Plants grow 14 to 20 inches tall and 12 to 16 inches wide. Hardy in Zones 3-9.
Chokecherrry is a beloved native tree known for its black cherries that beckon birds—and make good jelly, too. Goldspur amur chokecherry (Prunus maackii ‘Jefspur’) is a dwarf form of the classic native, bringing the multi-season beauty of this tree to a size that fits any yard. White flowers appear in spring, followed by black cherry fruits in summer. Leaves shift to yellow tones in autumn, but the best show occurs in winter, when the gold peeling bark is visible. Size: 10 to 15 feet tall by 6 to 9 feet wide. Hardy in Zones 2-9.
To try this idea in your home, measure the space and figure out what size bins you will need to fill the space. Visit a local department store or craft store to find storage bins and baskets in various sizes. Then, label your baskets. This home features "His," "Hers" and "Ours" baskets so that everyone have a designated place to store winter goods but also a place for mixed-use items. Using chalkboard tags and chalk is a great way to label each basket without making it permanent.
Also known as Arabian tea jasmine, ‘Maid of Orleans’ (Jasminum sambac) is usually raised for its perfumed blooms. The blossoms also make a refreshing flavored water. Simply place flowers in cold water, refrigerate overnight, and drink in the morning. This jasmine thrives indoors or out, although it’s only winter hardy in Zone 10. Indoors, keep it in a bright southern window with temps above 65 F. ‘Maid of Orleans’ grows into a shrub form. Prune as needed to control and direct growth.
Crape myrtle is a Southern classic, beloved for its endless show. Summer flowers, fall color and beautiful winter bark earn this beauty a place in every Southern yard. Flower colors vary, including ruby red, pastel lavender and snowy white. New varieties also offer wine-red foliage. Look for semi-dwarf varieties to find ones that qualify as small tree size. Examples include ‘Acoma’ (white, to 10 feet), ‘Delta Jazz’ (ruby red, to 10 feet), ‘Rhapsody in Pink’ (pink, to 12 feet), ‘Zuni’ (lavender, 6 to 10 feet) and Early Bird Lavender (6 feet). Semi-dwarf size: 6 to 12 feet tall by 3 to 10 feet wide. Hardy in Zones 7-10.
Ornamental grasses are stars of the fall landscape. Their height, texture and movement add interest that extends well beyond fall into winter. Take note of grasses that catch your eye this fall. Look for examples at botanic gardens or nurseries with display gardens. If you’re unsure if a grass’s height fits in your landscape, use a tall stake or tomato cage to represent the grass in planting beds. That three-dimensional stand-in can help you visualize how a grass would look.
Discover the beauty of a bush clematis—Clematis recta. This clematis grows like a perennial, dying back to the ground each year when hard freezes arrive. White, fragrant flowers appear in late spring to early summer, followed by more blooms later in the year. In the garden, grow Clematis recta like a shrub, although stems tend to tumble over without some kind of support. Many gardeners grow this pretty clematis beside taller perennials that give it a natural, easy support. To prune, in late winter or early spring, cut all stems back to 6 to 9 inches above a pair of strong, healthy buds. Vines grow 2 to 4 feet tall and wide. Hardy in Zones 3 to 9.
For long-lasting color in shade to part sun, tuberous begonia (Begonia x tuberosa) brings the goods. Plants offer deep green leaves accented with larger-than-life flowers in hues from white, to sunny orange, to bicolor blends. Picotee-type blooms feature white petals edged in a different hue, like this red-edged AmeriHybrid tuberous begonia with flowers measuring 4 to 8 inches across. This beauty was bred by Golden State Bulb, a fifth-generation family business that grows tuberous begonias. Plants grow 14 to 20 inches tall and 10 to 12 inches wide. Tuberous begonias flower non-stop in Zones 9 to 11. In other zones, dig tubers and store for winter.
Red maple (Acer rubrum) is beloved for its red flowers that blanket the tree in spring, opening before leaves appear. Summer leaf color is a steady green. Autumn triggers a color show with varying shades of red, from brilliant to deep burgundy. ‘Autumn Spire’ red maple is an upright, narrow accent tree that embodies the traditional beauty of red maple in a size that fits any yard. Trees grow 50 feet tall and 20 to 25 feet wide. They’re drought tolerant once established and also withstand flooding. Developed by the University of Minnesota, this maple holds its own where winter thermometer readings linger below zero. Expect trees to live 80 to 100 years. Hardy in Zones 3-6.
Few plants symbolize fragrance like roses. This group of plants features shrubs, climbers, miniatures—and all sorts of other wonderful types. Flower color runs the gamut, including white, deep burgundy (almost black), lemon yellow and a host of other hues. New rose introductions like the Easy Elegance collection feature disease-resistant leaves with strong winter hardiness (Zones 5-9). Kiss Me (Rosa ‘BAIsme’) unfurls richly petaled blooms reminiscent of old English garden roses—and redolent with fragrance. Other roses packed with perfume? A few that have stood the test of time include ‘Autumn Damask’ (Zones 5-9), ‘Madame Isaac Pereire’ (Zones 6-9), ‘Double Delight’ (Zones 3-9), ‘Mister Lincoln (Zones 5-9) and ‘Roseraie de l’Hay’ (Zones 3-9).
No matter what makes someone cherish a plant, for it to remain a garden favorite it must tolerate a wide range of soils and climates. The bright red berries of heavenly bamboo (Nandina domestica), the large winter flowers of Camellia japonica ‘Pink Perfection’, and the fragrant stems of paperwhites (Narcissus tazetta) are from plants grown at my family home place for over 75 years with no care at all. And they have been shared from cuttings and divided clumps and bulbs throughout our whole family.
For the longest time, seven-son flower (Heptacodium miconioides) has been a plant grown by garden geeks, but it’s now entering the common marketplace. It’s about time. This stunning small tree offers strong four-season interest. Leaves are beautiful as they emerge in spring and develop a twisting appearance in summer. White flowers appear in late summer, beckoning hummingbirds. Blossoms fade to reveal deep rose bracts that linger on the plant well into autumn. Winter showcases peeling, tan bark on the multiple trunks. This is a great choice for a specimen front yard tree or an addition to a planting bed. Size: 6-10 feet tall and wide. Hardy in Zones 5-9.
Says self-proclaimed “thrift-store junkie” Sarah Norton Ramberg of Sadie Seasongoods, “I loved the idea of repurposing something dining-related, in this case, a cheese dome. It makes for nice synergy in a decorative way.” This cloche turned ice rink is a fun spin on a holiday centerpiece and has a charming vintage feel, to boot.
Ramberg’s thrifty tip? “Shop for holiday decor year-round at thrift stores and garage sales. That way, you just spend a little here and there over the course of a year, and by the time the winter holidays arrive, you won't have to spend a dime on decor. It can all go towards gifts!”
Tulip tree (Liriodendron tulipifera) is a native tree known for its towering size (70 to 100 feet) and yellow, tulip-like blooms that open in summer. ‘Little Volunteer’ brings that stately beauty down to a size that fits modern gardens. Leaves offer an unusual shape and shimmer in the wind. Look for gold fall color and cup-like fruits made of seeds. It’s a medium-fast grower, reaching a size of 12 feet tall by 6 feet wide in 4 years (starting with a 3- to 5-foot sapling). The strong pyramidal shape looks elegant in winter, especially when wet snows stick to branches. This is one tree you won’t regret planting. Size: to 20 feet tall by 9 feet wide. Hardy in Zones 4-9.