Color in the Garden

by Kenneth Hoffman


Discover color in foliage. I don't know why people think of flowers when a garden is mentioned. Blooming plants make a noticeable accent only when in bloom and in sufficient numbers to be seen from a distance. On the other hand, foliage is present in large quantities all summer long, presenting their leafy faces to the sun and our own admiring eyes.

Many plants qualify as colorful additions to our garden. One of my favorites is the large leaf hosta in dusty blue shades. One clump of this easily found plant covers a square yard of area, nodding with the breezes and even sending up racemes of lilac blooms in June. Large leafed coleus can be treated as a potted plant for good effect as accent pieces. Platter sized caladiums adds a point of focus in your garden. Don’t pass up decorative grasses with their tall tan fronds supplying motion as well as color.

Evergreens that shine with sunny yellows and chartreuse are the golden arbor vitae and variegated hollies. Reds are represented by Japanese maples, especially the finely divided miniatures. When visiting your local nursery in the Spring, choose plants with extra light or dark foliage for accenting the ubiquitous leaf green. Flowering weeping varieties of some trees sport leaves of a golden color like the golden chain tree. Twisted willow leaves are of a jade green color. Large Norwegian maples are to be avoided because they absorb too much light in the garden and grow too large for most spaces.

With the instant effect of colorful leaves painting a picture in your garden, you are then free to place the finishing touches with your favorite flowers. Just think of the painting it would make!

Retirement downsized my garden but not my enthusiasm.

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