Thursday, June 23, 2011

Green is a Color


The few times I've ever tried to advise someone about what to plant in a garden,  the first thing I would hear is, "I want lots of color."  Translation:  "I want a big swath of pansies or petunias so they can be seen from the street."

It took me a long time and a lot of visits to gardens to realize that green is "lots of color".  And, I admit that at first, I thought all was lost because I had mostly shade at my house and couldn't have any of those brightly colored flowers that require full sun.

I think the above garden, which belongs to W. George Schmid, author of the The Genus Hosta and An Encyclopedia of Shade Perennials (both available from Amazon), is stunning, despite the fact that everything is green.  George actually started out growing mostly hostas, but eventually began adding shrubs and perennials of various textures that could take the shade and still provide interest.

If you mix plants that are different shades of green (chartreuse, blue-green) with variegated plants that are either green and white or green and gold, you can easily come up with an eye-pleasing garden scene.    George has also sought out variations on familiar plants, like chartreuse liriope, variegated-leaf azalea and hosta with striated leaves.