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The weather here in the Southeast was beautiful this past weekend. So nice, in fact, that I decided to head outdoors and tackle some end-of-summer yard work. We had plenty of rain this year so my garden had a great growing season and many plants were way overdue for a good trim.

I started with my butterfly bushes which had become ginormous — beautiful, lush, fragrant and huge. The vibrant purple, fuschia and pink blooms are simply too pretty to put at the side of the road for pickup, so as I trimmed the limbs I put the blossoms into a ready container of water. I learned the hard way that butterfly bush blooms are a finicky lot; cut blooms need to go straight into water or they wilt and don’t recover.

blog-kitchen-double-arrangementMy kitchen received a bright pop of color courtesy of the trimmed butterfly bushes and a few fern fronds.  

blog-living-room-arrangementWhile I was trimming, I clipped a few late-summer blooms from my spirea. The bright pink flowers pair beautifully with clusters of Autumn Joy sedum just beginning to take on its trademark blush.

blog-bed-with-arrangement-4My guest bedroom is ready for company with a small arrangement of Autumn Joy sedum, fern fronds and pink butterfly bush blooms.

blog-bathroom-arrangement2The guest bath received a burst of color courtesy of my hostas which put up long spikes of purple flowers that closely resemble lilies. The blooms open from the bottom of the stem up, making it easy to keep the arrangement fresh by pinching off dead blooms and occasionally recutting the stem ends.

Are you ready to tackle some late summer/early fall garden chores? Check out these tips for a handy garden to-do list.

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H. Camille SmithCamille is a managing editor for HGTV.com, fine artist and antique furniture devotee. As a former interior designer and Nickelodeon animator, she has a real passion for balanced, beautiful interiors...

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