The Plants: Mums, Mexican sage, boxwoods
The Big Idea: There's a reason you see mums each fall—they work. Once buds begin to open, you're guaranteed blooms whether your display is in sun or shade. To prolong the show, water when dry and remove spent flowers. While there are numerous salvias to choose from, we love Mexican sage for its statuesque nature and velvety purple flowers. Pair with potted boxwoods. At season's end, transplant salvias to the border, and compost or transplant the mums too. Enjoy the potted boxwoods for several more seasons until they outgrow their containers, and then transplant them into larger pots or into the garden.