Imagine being able to pick fresh lemons, limes and oranges right from your patio! Read more »
Cutting overgrown grasses by more than an inch or two at a time can create unhealthy brown and bald spots in your lawn – or ev... Read more »
Kids are eager gardeners. They love to experiment with colorful flowers, have an adventurous sense of design, and getting dirt... Read more »
Our Shear Ease® Grass Shears include a patented mechanism that prevents the blades from jamming or sticking when you’re trimmin... Read more »
The first time you try our PowerGear® Hedge Shears, you’ll be amazed — but it’s not magic, it’s gears. Our patented gear techno... Read more »
Our Easy-Pour Watering Can offers both capacity and control. The 2.6-gallon volume holds a generous amount of water that is eas... Read more »
Put your crafting skills to work and create a beautiful and unique fascinator that reflects your personal style. Read more »
“Painting” with tissue paper is not only fun but beautiful! Read more »
Mosaic tile frames are a beautiful way to display photos. Read more »
Designed for long, easy cuts down strips of Duck® Tape, our Duck® Edition Scissors feature a non-stick blade coating that preve... Read more »
Add distinctive style to craft projects of all kinds with a Squeeze Punch that makes every embellishment up to 2X easier to pun... Read more »
Designed for tight, precise cuts through Duck® Tape, our Duck® Edition Detail Scissors feature a non-stick blade coating that p... Read more »
A colorful, roomy bag is just the thing you need to carry all your belongings for a day at the beach. Read more »
Keep the kids busy on a road trip with their own art bag full of inspiration and the essentials. Read more »
This easy pillowcase dress looks adorable with pretty fabrics. Plus, it is super simple to put together, even if you have not... Read more »
Only our Stitcher Scissors provide precision and control that meet the needs of the most demanding sewers and quilters. Micro-T... Read more »
Our Seamstress Scissors are the perfect all-purpose scissors for anyone who cuts fabric frequently. The smooth action of these... Read more »
Choose our Dressmaker Shears for long, smooth cuts through multiple layers of medium to heavy fabrics. Extra-long blades maximi... Read more »
Looking for a sure cure for bored kids - make sparkly sea creatures! Read more »
Open-ended activities like this Busy Book can keep kids occupied in the back seat of a car AND spark fun family conversations! Read more »
It doesn’t take much to turn an everyday snack into something a little extra special. It is great to see how quickly you can a... Read more »
Our Preschool Training Scissors features a special training lever that opens the blades after each cut, helping children learn... Read more »
Children love our Designer Non-stick Blunt-tip Kids Scissors for the colorful handle patterns that make cutting fun and the non... Read more »
Our Designer Non-stick Student Scissors are larger than our Kids Scissors but smaller than adult scissors, perfect for those ol... Read more »
The beautiful mood lighting of lanterns at outdoor gatherings is fabulous, so why not craft up a set to use this summer. Read more »
Treat your children to their own special tent hideaway, then stand back and watch as the fun and adventures begin! Read more »
Make a thoughtful gift for someone this summer! Read more »
The StaySharp™ Max Reel Mower combines patent-pending technology with superior ergonomics to deliver best-in-class cutting perf... Read more »
Great for beginners, the unique design of this tool makes cutting perfect shapes from fabric a breeze — since you’re not managi... Read more »
Perfect for a wide range of sewing and quilting tasks, our Amplify® RazorEdge™ Fabric Shears sense blade separation and force t... Read more »
Consider Tropicanna® cannas as your guide to this spicy mix. The original orange and pink leaf dances to a Latin beat, but now there are black and gold introductions to tempt you too.
Next to cannas, place Solenostemon scutellarioides (syn. Plectranthus for some types), coleus. Coleus are grown as annuals throughout most of the U.S. because they originally hail from Africa, southeast Asia, India and Australia. Square stems tell you they are part of the mint family, and as diverse and spicy as Indian curry. In the beginning, coleus were only grown in the shade. Now, sun coleus are part of every greenhouse arsenal. Some like Big Red Judy® grow to enormous heights while others are quite small.
Another group of tropical foliage plants back in vogue is the genus Alternanthera, Joseph’s coat. Only a few years ago, you rarely saw them, but different selections are now for sale everywhere. Some alternantheras have delicate structure while others are big and bold. While most are grown from cuttings, ‘Purple Knight’ grows true from seed. Alternantheras can be planted in a sunny border, but you will likely see some leaf burn in a sizzling summer.
Acalypha, copperleaf plant, is another diverse genus. Even though it isn’t as common as coleus, it is grown as a shrub in Florida and further south. Where copperleaf is a tender tropical, it still makes a bold statement in the summer border, or as the centerpiece in a container. A. wilkesiana ‘Kona Gold’ is shown below.
Don’t neglect old standards like Strobilanthes dyerianus, Persian shield, Iresine herbstii, chicken gizzard plant, and Setcreasea pallida, purple heart, all which grow better and better the hotter summer gets. Purple heart also has a variegated form with hot pink stripes, a twist on an old favorite.
Cordylines were once considered only houseplants north of Florida. Now, however, they adorn containers and borders throughout the South. Rhoeo spathacea, oyster plant, is another great tropical foliage plant for the front of the border.
Persicaria microcephala 'Red Dragon,’ above, is an easy plant with beautiful variegated foliage. This cultivar is considered sterile and does not spread by stoloniferous roots like others in its genus.
Fantastic foliage isn’t limited to tropical plants. Japanese maples and perennials can be combined like this red selection and the variegated wand flower below.
As for shrubs, there are so many diverse ones on the market now. Variegated Abelia x grandiflora ‘Kaleidoscope’ mixes beautifully with solid green plants. For dark beauties, try Black Lace® Sambucus nigra ‘Eva’ (elderberry), or purple Cotinus (smokebush). Smokebush can be grow as a small tree or medium shrub.
Foliage can take your garden from a dull and difficult summer to one that shimmies with the heat. Try something different this year, and you too will become a foliage fan. Believe me . . . once you stroll over to the spicy side, you’ll never go back.