* Tall, striking, red plumes of amaranth sway in the breeze in my garden. Black eyed susans, zinnias, and flowering herbs like mint host butterflies, dragonflies, and bees. And those knock-out roses–do they ever stop? I had a flute teacher when I was about 15 who always had a vase of fresh flowers on her table when I rode my bike to her home for my weekly lesson, and I told myself one day I would have that, too. And now I do, a little bit more each year. The best part? Everything but the zinnias is either a perennial or reseeds itself. Beautiful, economical, and easy. That works for me!
* I’ve never felt like I was truly “home” until I planted a pot of geraniums by my front door. A happy little clay pot with those pretty red flowers always made me smile. (See more container ideas here, although when I told my younger daughter I was thinking of adding window boxes, she replied, “Mom, don’t you think you have enough going on out there?”) Daisies, calendulas, and sunflowers are others I love, too (but next year I think I’ll do the sunflowers on the side of the house instead of the front–they really did get a little crazy). Fall is a great time to put dead leaves in a spot where you want to garden in the spring and let them decompose and nourish the soil. Another thing to save until the spring? Free seeds from Kudzu! You get them just for entering the new Make Your Home a Ten with $10,000 Sweepstakes (and you get extra chances to enter for every friend who enters, too). There are daily winners, an end-of-promotion grand prize winner, and flowers blooming in the spring, whether you win or not. (If you’re in a warmer climate, you may be able to plant them now–check out when violas work for your planting zone.) (And want a free tip of the day? Put a viola flower between two sheets of paper. Gently hammer the petals through the paper. Remove the paper and flower and you’ll see the flower’s colored imprint, which, with the addition of a pretty head and face drawn with a marker, looks just like a fairy! Who’s the fun mom now?!)
* Let’s push the bold direction a bit and go modern and colorful in a big way. How about these flower-power modern couches? I love this look. I would be draped across that couch with my book in mere seconds if I walked into that room. And these are actually sleeper sofas. As if I’d need any more encouragement to snooze . . .