Felicia Feaster

seed saver book
File away those special seeds for the next gardening season with this handy helpmate.

A number of compelling books, products and plants cross the HGTVGardens desks. We've selected a few of our favorites, whether you are looking for a great growing book, new plants for your garden or a botanical cleaning product whose scents hark back to the garden.

Seed Keeper: Organize, Record, and Store (Chronicle Books)

No matter what the time of year, there is always something to do in the garden. With summer gardening season waning, you may now be planning a fall vegetable garden, preparing the garden for the cold months ahead, or— one of my favorite activities — plotting the next spring season. Seed saving is a way to profit from the dwindling garden season by squirreling away seeds for next spring.

Consider the handy Seed Keeper book your helpmate in this endeavor. From its adorably homespun veggie illustrations by Masako Kubo to the thick brown envelopes within — just right for saving seed packets — the book is homestead-cute through and through. More a card catalog than book in the traditional sense, Seed Keeper is essentially a filing system for your favorite seeds. In addition to the practical matter of keeping seeds secure and organized, this tidy little volume contains tips for seed saving, straightforward growing advice, a list of seed sources, recommended gardening books (including HGTVGardens' own Lynn Coulter's Gardening With Heirloom Seeds) and the odd quote from Emily Dickinson thrown into the mix.

mrs. meyer's cleaning products
Savor the sunny smell of sunflowers in the new line of Mrs. Meyer's products.

Mrs. Meyer’s Sunflower Cleaner

Some people associate a big cleaning push with spring. For me, getting my home and garden in order is equally important at the end of summer. I see it as a time to tidy things up, get organized and prepare for a long winter’s nap. Part of that mission is purging, and its handmaiden, cleaning. Cult cleaning products, the Mrs. Meyer’s family of dish soaps, hand soaps, laundry detergents and myriad other delicious-smelling items have always had a strong botanical element. Using plant-derived ingredients in its products, the company has created a thrilling array of garden-inspired fragrances, including rosemary, basil, geranium, lemon verbena, honeysuckle, bluebell and, my personal favorite, radish, which somehow manages to combine the scent of soil and cleanliness in one aromatic formula.

The newest line of sunflower-scented cleaners features a bright, cheerful citrus aroma incorporating orange peel, clove leaf, bergamot, lime and lemon peel that seems just right for putting you in the mood to get things done. Invigorating and fresh, the scent is a happy reminder of summer days as you transition into fall and winter.

'Rose Granita' Heuchera
Striking purple-red leaves make the 'Rose Granita' heuchera—new for 2014—a way to bring drama to the garden.
'Fall Festival' Heuchera
A new heuchera for 2014, 'Fall Festival' boasts lipstick red leaf undersides for a little garden surprise.

‘Fall Festival’ and ‘Rose Granita’ Heuchera

Heucheras are some of my favorite perennials, with their rich, iconoclastic colors; graphically veined leaves; and shade-loving tendencies. I also love the business-in-the-front, party-in-the-back surprise of gorgeous color on the undersides of their leaves: well, hello, handsome!

Ball Horticultural Company is introducing two beautiful new shades in the Carnival Heuchera (Heuchera x villosa) line in 2014 to add to your garden, and I was lucky enough to get a sneak peek at these beauties:  ‘Carnival Fall Festival’ and ‘Carnival Rose Granita’. These heucheras are hardy to -25 degrees F and have a mounding habit -- all good things, though truth be told, it is the intense, gorgeous colors that do it for me. I love the Crayola varieties of these plants -- from perky chartreuse to rich, gothic plums and rusts -- and I love what they are going to do for my garden.


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