Garden

12 Landscape Plants That Are Still Pretty In Mid-October

We have had some good-weather days here into October, and it’s so nice to step outside and see some beautiful plants that somehow keep going, even well into the fall. Today was a particularly gorgeous fall day in mid-October, and I had the chance to get outside in our yard to get a closer look at some pretty, long-season landscape plants. I hope this will give you a little inspiration for your own landscape!

Rose “the fairy”
Wild Rose Hips
lamb’s ears
Endless Summer Hydrangea
Mint
Knockout Rose
Japanese Anenome
Dogwood
snapdragon
ornamental kale

Fairy Rose

This delicate- looking but extremely hardy miniature pink landscape rose “The Fairy” starts blooming early in the season and is still going in October.

Wild Rose Hips

We have a big, wild rose bush on our fence row that’s been here since we moved in. My husband has tried to trim it back a few times, but to no avail. It is a pretty plant though with pink to white flowers in June. In October, it has these gorgeous red rose hips and looks fantastic against the white fence.

Lamb’s Ear

Lamb’s ear is a low-growing perennial with gray-green fuzzy leaves. I love to have these around because they look great in flower arrangements, and they edge our patio so I can enjoy them all season long.

Hydrangea

Although some of the blooms are past their prime, many others look like it’s an August day on this hydrangea bush. The variety is Endless Summer, and it’s definitely true to its name!

Mint

Mint is a great plant to grow. You can use it in cooking, and it smells so good! Just be careful to pull up what you don’t want or plant it in a container. This mint plant is still completely green and flowering, even at this time of year.

Knock Out Rose

The hype about knockout roses is all true! I have other traditional roses that I love too, but there’s no beating this one for long season bloom, in my area from May to October.

Japanese Anemone

These pink flowers are so gorgeous, it’s hard to believe they are so hardy! Cold weather does not bother these blooms at all.

Dogwood

Dogwood trees are among the first bloomers, putting on a show when the air is still chilly in the spring. Then, in fall, the leaves change to reddish hues, and each bract produces berries. We have three beautiful trees that are big favorites of the birds.

Snapdragon

I love colorful snapdragons. If you pinch them back, they will bloom all season. They also reseed, so you can easily end up with an established patch.

Ornamental Kale

Ornamental cabbage and kale just get better and better as the season goes along. They are terrific in container.

Aster

These blue-purple asters are just so pretty! They have bloomed non-stop for a month. It’s my first year planting them, and I’m hoping they will be back next year.

Aster

Hardy Mums

Mums are often grown as an annual, these rich red colored mums are planted in the garden and come back each year. Nothing says fall like autumn-hued mums!

hardy mums

Have a beautiful day, and happy gardening! 🙂

Cozy at Home · Garden · Home Decor

Five Smart Ways to Extend The Season In Your Outdoor Living Space

For our family, Summer 2020 has become The Year of the Patio. Any socializing we have done, even with family, has been in our outdoor space to minimize the risk of covid infection for our son with Down Syndrome. In a lot of ways, its been a fun year of discovering the birds, plants, and animals that inhabit our backyard and the simple pleasures of the sunshine and fresh air. But now that the season is coming to an end, we, like many others, are wondering how we can maximize our time in our outdoor space and make it more usable into the fall.

Here are a few ways to make your deck, patio, or backyard space more functional in cooler weather so you can continue to get as much use out of it as possible.

  1. Upgrade outdoor lighting.

As the days grow shorter and shorter, I’ve enjoyed all the lighting we have on our patio. We have two sets of vintage-style string lights running along the pergola and amber glass lanterns in the garden and along the house. All this lighting provides enough illumination to comfortably socialize even when night falls. Candle lanterns are a great alternative for portable lighting.

2. Add an outdoor heat feature

Consider adding a source of heat to your outdoor space. This could be extremely simple, like a firepit built from landscape stones, or it could be extremely elaborate, like a whole outdoor fireplace. A nice cozy, warm spot will extend your backyard usability into the autumn months. Right now, we have a small portable firepit that gives us a little extra warmth on a chilly night. A fire table with a seating area would be a terrific addition!

This set is rated five stars on Amazon and comes with the fire table

3. Add comfortable furniture

An outdoor sofa with plenty of space offers lots of options for outdoor enjoyment. This patio features an outdoor coffee table to enjoy a hot beverage and snack or just put your feet up and enjoy nature.

4. Add a great outdoor cooking option

When you have a terrific outdoor cooking area, spending time out in the fresh air into the fall months is a lot more fun. Imagine taking a few steps outside your back door and cooking up something delicious on an outdoor griddle! My young adult kids recently purchased this amazing Cuisinart grill and have been raving about it ever since!

5. Bring out the blankets and pillows

When the weather turns chilly, make sure to have plenty of blankets on hand for outdoor get-togethers. An outdoor storage all-weather wicker storage chest for the patio is a great solution. We always have some wool blankets like this beauty from Pendleton wool around in case the weather suddenly gets cooler.

The weather so far this fall has favored us, and last night we were still cooking and eating outside on the patio at the very end of September. Let’s hope it continues for awhile!

Have a beautiful day and enjoy the nice weather as long as you can! 🙂

DIY Crafts · Garden · Home Decor

5 Simple DIY Ideas for a Cottage Style Fall Porch Featuring Blue and White

My little front porch decked for the fall season

The air swirls briskly and the sunlight shines brightly as I sweep the summer cobwebs off of our little brick front porch today. What a gorgeous day to get ready for a new season! No matter what else is going on, the change in weather puts me in the mood to do something new and creative with our decor.

After a little arranging and re-arranging, our front door is now ready for fall and putting it all together was a wonderful way to spend a few hours. Most of the featured objects on the porch are DIY projects from earlier this month. Please see the end of the post for links to how-tos. 🙂

We have a huge patio in the back of our house, but our front door entrance has a really tiny brick porch. The small entryway offers a unique challenge for adding seasonal decorations. Working on this project, I found that adding varying heights was key to forming a balanced display in this small of a space.

Here are some decorating tips for a small front porch design:

  1. Go vertical with your design elements.

Since there is no space for a wide display, stack your items by placing them at varying heights. Here I have used a large urn as the background tallest element with willow twigs added to the pot for even more height, a thrifted shabby iron plant stand to hold my painted pumpkin, and pots of different sizes.

2. Limit your colors to a few harmonious shades.

In a small space, your design will have more impact and cohesiveness if you choose a harmonious color display. I decided to include shades of purple, plum, and green in my fall display with accents of blue and white.

3. Add unique and personalized touches.

I brought in my love for blue and white ceramics and decor pieces for my porch design. I hand-painted this pumpkin based on chinoiserie patterns and brought other blue and white touches including damask ribbon, other small chinoiserie pumpkins I created, and blue and white containers for plants. I also added cottage elements such as the mission style lanterns and the DIY cement leaves.

4. Add decorative elements to the wall surface or doorframe.

The doorframe itself may give you a spot to add to your seasonal display. This acorn and oak leaf plaque is a subtle and elegant addition to the porch decor. It provides some texture and adds to the autumn theme without overpowering the door wreath.

5. Make the door a focal point.

With a small porch design, the front door is definitely one of the main surfaces you have to work with. Make the most of it by choosing a wreath that fits your color scheme and the overall feel you are going for. I was going for a cozy bungalow shabby vibe, so I used the autumn hue hydrangea wreath I created recently and added a blue and white damask bow to carry through my color scheme.

Bonus tip: have someone keep you company and provide feedback on your work. 🙂

Mr. Bingley the Cavalier King Charles enjoys some fresh air between naps on the sofa.

DIY Projects used for the Porch:

Coppery hypertufa pumpkins post here.

I also made some leaf castings using instructions from this great blog. I painted a couple of them to go with my fall display.

What a super fun project this was, and a wonderful way to welcome in the new season! Now when I go out the front door in the morning and it’s chilly and not summer anymore, I will have some cheerful cottage decor to put a smile on my face. 🙂

Have a beautiful day, and do something creative! 🙂

Shop the Look:

Garden

8 Easy Ways to Get Creative With Your Fall Garden

A large mixed fall container and a cozy place to relax.

Finding Creative Ways to keep Your Fall Garden Display Going

Many of us focus on our Summer gardening so much that by the time we get to mid-September, there’s not a lot of interest going on in the landscape. However, there are some super simple solutions and strategies to keep your yard looking pretty right into Autumn! Here are some planting ideas from around our place.

1.
Keep some of your Summer flowers

It may seem obvious, but if you have grown annuals that are cold-tolerant, by all means, keep them! Good examples are snapdragons, pansies, dusy millers, alyssum, dianthus, and African daisy. Even petunias will grow in cool weather. You can move these plants into pots with your fall flowers such as mums or asters for a beautiful display. Here, I have pulled some summer flowers out of a pot with my pink snapdragon and added in an ornamental kale.

2.
Plant Herbs that continue to Add Interest and Usefulness

My patch of oregano is great for seasoning some pasta sauce, but it also looks pretty in the fall with its delicate purple flowers. Many varieties of sage and allium have flowers this time of year as well. If you plant hardy herbs, you can enjoy their beauty and culinary attributes for a long season.

3.Create One Or Two Big Impact Planters with seasonal Blooms

I have a huge wooden barrel planter that is so versatile to use in any season. I chose this planter to be my focal point in the yard and put it next to an Adirondack chair to encourage people to go out and relax, enjoy some autumn sunshine, and a beautiful fall planting. My plants here are mums, ornamental kale, snapdragon, astor, and false sunflower.

The wooden barrel is large enough to display a variety of plants.

4.
Pick Up some Ornamental Cabbage and Kale

While not the first thing you think of for decorative planting, these charming ornamental rosette shaped greens will add depth to your designs and last through the fall. I plant some every year, and I’m in love with the effect.

Ornamental Kale and Cabbage-Gorgeous for fall plantings.

5.
Plant a Display of ornamental Peppers

This year I planted an unexpected combo: a formal urn filled with ornamental peppers and cabbages. I’m really happy with the unique and unexpected look. Ornamental peppers are amazing fall performers. If you’re looking for something creative and out of the mum and aster box, try these peppers! They are gorgeous all throughout the fall season.

6.
Use A Pretty Pot outdoors

Change up your traditional front porch mum and aster display by grabbing a few pretty pots from indoors or from a shop. The colorful pottery will give your display all whole new look and help set the color theme. Here I have taken a gorgeous Show Maker Aster and put it into one of my blue and white china pots.

7.
include some fall Berries in the landscape

This gorgeous tree was here when we move in 25 years ago. I’m so happy that someone planted it! The tree hosts flocks of birds this time of year and is stunningly beautiful. Crabapple, bayberry, firethorn, and chokeberry are great fall choices.

8.
Bring On The Accessories

Doubtless, there will be a multitude of pumpkins and scarecrows this season, but why not try something a little less traditional? Bring out the old wheelbarrow and fill it with flowers. Check out etsy or a vintage store for something old and one-of-a-kind. Find some colorful pillows that make your plantings pop. I added an aged herald angel weathervane to my mums, a decidedly non-traditional look, but I like the character it gives my arrangement.

HAVE A Beautiful day & Happy Planting! 🙂

Garden

Ten Fall Container Garden Ideas To Get You Inspired

A beautiful planter combination using a variety of colors and textures is a wonderful way to extend your gardening season. To continue to enjoy your outdoor spaces and maximize your floral displays, make sure to include some plantings especially designed for cooler weather.

Recently, we visited the H. O. Smith Botanic Garden in Central Pennsylvania which always offers stunning views in every season. We would love to share some of the September plantings we saw there to give you ideas for your own container gardening.

Consider a tall focal point like this Ornamental Millet.
Colorful pansies are a perfect cool weather flower, combined here with beautiful ornamental kale and a mum in the background.
Ornamental grass, dahlias, petunias, and daisies make a striking combinations.
Ornamental kale is combined with celosia for a lovely planting.
This bright red coleus continues to look impressive in September.
For a more formal planting, try a small tree form plant like this beautiful magnolia.
A mass planting of greenery, ivy, and mums makes a stunning display.
Coleus adds some bright fall color.
This gorgeous, unique container planting showcases a multitude of succulents.

I thoroughly enjoyed seeing what kind of ideas master gardners come up with for their fall plantings. I will be working on my own containers this week, and while they will likely not be as spectacular as these, it’s so much fun to put them together and enjoy the outdoors.

Have a beautiful day, and try some new gardening ideas! 🙂

Garden

Still Going Strong: 10 Late Season Perennials To Keep Your Garden Blooming Into September

Perennial plants and shrubs provide the backbone of the ornamental garden. By late summer, most of us notice our flower beds starting to look a little worn out, tired, and faded. With some advance planning, you can ensure your garden will still be putting on a brilliant display, even while the air gets cooler and autumn approaches. Here are ten beautiful and hardy perennials that will still be chugging along, even at the beginning of September.

These plants are still looking good in September.
  1. Hydrangea

Hydrangeas provide a striking accent in the garden from mid-summer on. I love hydrangeas and their beautiful and dramatic large bloom clusters. The mid-summer varieties will still be holding blooms in September, though most will be twinged with green by now. I have one blue and pink variety ‘Endless Summer” that is still blooming true to color. The late-blooming paniculata types are still in their prime and provide a great option for end-of-summer blooms. 

2. Black-Eyed Susan

These vibrant yellow, daisy-like flowers start blooming late in the Summer and right through September. Their beautiful, rich fall color makes a gorgeous garden display or arrangement. 

3. Hosta

I love this hosta. The original plant came from my late grandmother’s yard, and has formed a big gorgeous clump of lush foliage at the corner of my shady garden. We enjoy the foliage all season, then late in August, these fantastic, lily-like blooms appear. 

4. Cinnamon Fern

This tall, striking fern looks great in my garden this time of year, even as many of my other ferns have browned in the late Summer months. This focal point just keeps getting better and better as the season goes on. 

5. Knockout Roses

After a huge display early in the year, the knockout roses have continued to produce to a slightly lesser extent throughout the whole growing season. As I look at my garden in September, I still enjoy a large number of these vibrant and prolific rebloomers. 

6. Day Lily

Will the daylilies never quit? Each blossom lasts for only one day, yet they keep going. It’s such a treat to peek into the garden corner and see more of these pretty blooms each day.

7. Butterfly Bush, a tall perennial that appears more like a shrub, produces its best blooms late in the season. With an appearance similar to lilac, this beautiful flower continues to draw in all kinds of butterflies and hummingbirds.

8. Japanese Anemone

Delicate-looking Japanese Anemone or windflower is really just getting started this time of year. I planted a couple of anemones a few years ago and am still surprised when I look at the fence row and see these tall, lovely, long-stemmed beauties making their late-Summer appearance.

9. False Sunflower

This tall, cheerful, easygoing perennial blooms right on into early fall. I am trying these for the first time, and have them in a container with other colorful late-blooming flowers. So far I’m loving the combination.

10. Lamb’s ear

Lamb’s ears are such a fun little plant to grow! With their thick, fuzzy, silvery foliage, they are very on-trend in arrangements and bouquets right now too. I have had them in my garden for years. They are reliable, easy to grow, and provide a long season of garden interest.

I love savoring beautiful garden blooms as long as possible. How about you?

Have an amazing day, and enjoy your garden! 🙂

Garden

Time For Flowers: Grow A Fun Little Garden Spot With Morning Glories and Four-O-Clocks

I love old fashioned flowers. I remember seeing these lovely blooms in the gardens of my elderly aunts and neighbors as a kid and being fascinated by them. One year I grew a little patch of four-o-clocks with my mom, who was fantastic at involving and interesting us in the everyday miracles of nature. Each day we would see what time the four-o-clocks “woke up.” We even found a Little Golden Book in the grocery store check-out with rhymes about different types of flowers. I don’t have the book, but I remember part of the rhyme: Four-o-clock’s a stay-a-bed, she doesn’t raise her sleep head……or something like that!

Last year I decided to put some four-o-clock seeds in the ground at my own home. By this year, they have formed a pretty good little patch. They are not perennials in my area, but they do readily re-seed, so be careful where you put them. They are charming flowers that are sweetly scented and attract butterflies and hummingbirds. As the name implies, the buds do not open until the afternoon. 

Attract Hummingbirds To Your Yard and Garden

In my garden, they are planted next to morning glories which makes a fun display. Just as the morning glories are closing up shop for the day, the four-o-clocks begin putting on a show. One of my kids came home from school years ago with a beautiful morning glory plant they had grown in his classroom in the variety Grandpa Ott. Another reseeding flower, they grow all over the place now, and I always have to pull some out. The amazing purple blooms that greet the sun each day are worth it though, and each year when they come up I think of my son presenting them to me. 

Planting these two flowers together is a fun way to get your kids engaged in gardening and nature just like my mom did. In southern areas, it’s still not too late to give this a try. I even grew morning glories in the house with my kids one year and let the vines climb up the living room windows on strings! There are so many ways to engage with kids and plants, and the time they spend with you tending a garden will likely become a treasured memory. 

Have a wonderful afternoon and take time to appreciate the small joys of life!

The morning glory is in full force while the four-o-clocks are not quite open for the day.

Stunning Grandpa Ott Morning Glory Reseeds Every Year For A Summer-Long Display

Garden · DIY Crafts

Make this Simple and Cute DIY Feeder to Bring Orioles to Your Yard

When you spy the colorful plumage of a striking oriole in your backyard, you may just begin a quest to keep them coming back and draw them out of their usual high treetops. That’s exactly what happened to me this summer. We had front row seats for the raising of two nests full of new baby robins this summer since the parents decided to set up housekeeping at the corner of our patio pergola for the season. Extremely cool. 

Both parents painstakingly hopped around the backyard in search of something to dig up and feed the little ones. Then they would stealthily fly into the thick wisteria, trying to fake us out by entering somewhere where the nest was not and then moving to their real target: the hungry younguns. Consequently,  I am now thoroughly acquainted with the movements of a robin and how they find food in our yard. 

So one evening as I’m relaxing on my swing, I spy some flashes of orange in the upper tree branches of the fencerow. Yep, robins, I think. We have a ton of them. But wait! These birds were up there hanging in all sorts of ways to reach berries from the Allegheny viburnum! These were some spry songbirds that weren’t really behaving like our robins. After some quick research, I realized these were indeed orioles up there having a grand old time enjoying some fruit at summer’s end. 

I have more time this summer to enjoy the backyard birds, so this is a first for me seeing orioles right here at home, although in our region it’s not at all uncommon if you’re looking. 

I set out this week to make a feeder to entice the little cuties further down into the yard so we can get a better look before they leave for the season. I found out three preferences of orioles: Number one, they like the color orange. Number two, they like to feast on oranges. And number three, they enjoy grape jelly. 

My little DIY feeder sports an oriole-eye-catching shade and two containers for their preferred foods. So far on day one, no orioles, but a hummingbird took some orange juice. Let’s hope they find the feeder before they’re off for warmer places! 

MaTERIALS

Two small shallow jelly jars

Krylon Fusion All-In-One Spray Paint, Gloss, Popsicle Orange

Six feet of copper color wire, 20 gauge (I plan to make another using more heavy-duty wire. This was easy to bend and work with, but the jars could use a little stronger support)

Jewery charm for decoration if desired

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Spray paint the jars according to the paint can instructions. Thin coats work best. I only spraypaint outdoors. 
  2. Once the jars are dry, you can construct your wire hanger. Find the center of the wire and create a small loop. Twist the wire together. This is what will become the top twisted hook. I did 20 tight twists at the top. 
  3. If you plan to put a charm on your feeder, string it onto one of the wire pieces at this point, then twist the two wires to keep it there. 
  4. Form an oval-shaped opening with the two wires that is the right size for your charm. 
  5. Twist the two wires together tightly to form the central brace. 
  6. Take one of the jars and place it on the left side of your wire hanger. Using the jar just under the lip as a guide, go around the jar three times with the wire. Do the same on the right side. 
  7. Tuck the wires into the jar-sized circles on each side and cut to length. 
  8. Using separate pieces of wire, wrap the two circles and wrap to the central brace. Use pliers to tuck in any ends.
  9. Place the jars into the hanger
  10. Hang from an s hook
  11. You’re done!

The finished product

If you prefer to just buy an oriole feeder, there are a lot of great options like this one from Wayfair.

Enjoy your weekend and happy backyard birdwatching!

Garden

Love Hummingbirds? Five Ways to Bring Them to Your Garden


There’s something magical about hummingbirds. They’re like tiny iridescent gems buzzing around the garden with their stunning emerald and ruby tones. They’re extraordinary in their size, speed, and maneuverability. As fast as they buzz in to a flower patch, they’re gone in the next second, off to find more nectar to fuel their high-speed lifestyle. According to the National Audobon Society, these miniature dynamos beat their wings more than fifty times a second to achieve what looks like perpetual motion! Viewing these sprightly creatures each day is a treasure and keeping them coming back to my yard is a big priority when I’m planning my outdoor space. Over the years, we have successfully increased hummingbird sightings in our little garden, and every year they keep coming back bringing that little bit of magic with them. Here are some steps you can take to increase sightings of these nimble creatures in your yard.

Landscaping:  If you’re planting new trees, shrubs, and vines, take into consideration their appeal to hummingbirds. We were lucky enough to move into an older home where the previous owner had planted a red buckeye tree that bears tons of red, tubular flowers in the Spring. Hummingbirds love zooming through the tiny white flowers of our Allegheny viburnum. Because of this pretty tree produces berries, other birds congregate here as well, including cardinals, catbirds, mockingbirds, and waxwings. The butterfly bush is another big hit with hummingbirds. You definitely want to plant this where you can enjoy it because it will also attract all kinds of butterflies. The plant is really more of a perennial flower that should be trimmed back in April so it will bloom in late Summer. Other landscape elements hummingbirds enjoy include crabapple, rhododendron, redbud, and trumpet vine.

I love my trees, perennial gardens, and annual pots, but any success we’ve had with hummingbirds comes down to one thing: the all-important hummingbird feeders. Feeders will help the birds find your space early in the season when nothing is blooming and keep them happy between flowerings. In my experience, the feeders will attract hummingbirds to your yard, even if they end up feasting on flower nectar. It’s important to choose a good feeder that you can use year after year. I really like this feeder I was given as a gift from my husband this year. It has a vintage look which adds to the charm of our garden at our old colonial cape cod home. The red glass container attracts hummingbirds even if you choose to use clear nectar. The other feeders I like to use are these extra small ones. I have some cup hooks hanging from the wooden pergola over my patio that make it easy to put these up and down. What I like about them is I can fill them with a small amount of nectar and they really attract the birds. Because I hang them right over the patio, we have seen hummingbirds stopping to take a break by the feeder, perched on wisteria branches! Make sure to change the nectar and clean your feeders every three to four days.

Roses are always showstoppers of the garden, and our red knockout roses seem to get the tiny birds’ attention! But roses don’t have the nectar hummingbirds crave. Plant some beautiful lilies from bulbs to enjoy next Spring. You will enjoy their regal beauty for years to come, and they are also a draw for hummingbirds. Hummingbirds are attracted to red, but they frequent our numerous pink lilies throughout the summer season. Hummingbirds also enjoy the flowers of tiny coral bells. Phlox is a tall, old-fashioned flower perfect for your hummingbird garden. Flowering sage and delphinium attract the tiny visitors to our garden. The absolute best perennial we have grown for attracting hummingbirds to our Pennsylvania garden is bee balm. When it begins to flower mid-summer, the hummingbirds can’t get enough!

Like most gardeners, I can hardly wait for container planting each Spring. Every new year provides the opportunity to get creative and plant something original for our patio, combined with some old favorites, of course! Containers are great for small space gardens.  Even a windowbox garden affords the opportunity to attract hummingbirds. This year, I chose to emphasize reds which proved an excellent strategy for enjoying hummingbirds up close. For hanging baskets, try some stunning fuchsia or lantana. I planted ‘Gartenmeister Bonstedt’ fuchsia this year and it was fantastic! We saw hummingbirds in this lovely plant every day. I will be buying this again, and if you’re lucky enough to enjoy it year-round, give it a try!

Hummingbirds absolutely loved the Mandevilla and red wave petunias I planted this year. The red hibiscus was also a big draw. You could also choose snapdragons, four-o-clocks, nicotiana, zinnias, and angel wing impatiens to attract hummingbirds to your flower border.

Most birds appreciate having a source of water around, and hummingbirds are no exception. Try placing a birdbath or a bubbling fountain in your outdoor area. Birds are attracted to moving water, so our fountain has brought a huge variety of birds to the patio. We have a birdbath and fountain strategically placed in our backyard, and the number of birds who get up close to us humans to enjoy a quick bath is surprising!

What tips do you have for hummingbird gardening? We would love to hear from you!

Follow My Blog

Get new content delivered directly to your inbox.