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Garden Reports and Rejoicing – December 19

No Contrasting Foliage

Considering that there are thousands of plants available with all types, colors and textures of foliage, it’s amazing that so many people opt for such boring landscapes. So many gardens and foundation plantings are made up of evergreen shrubs with tiny green leaves. How sad.

There are some foundations that are large and ugly, so it’s understandable that the owners of such houses want evergreens to hide this. But this isn’t the case for most structures. Even those who want a majority of plants that stay green year round have access to an assortment of colors and textures of foliage. There’s no reason that anyone has to settle for a boring monoculture.

And let’s not stop with evergreens. Deciduous shrubs may not keep their leaves all summer but their form alone is often beautiful in the winter. Not to mention that what they bring to the party from April through October is so exciting that it’s immaterial whether the leaves are there in January or not.

In foundation plantings and garden beds we don’t want to stop with the shrubs either. Grasses, perennials and annuals, not to mention trees, all make glorious contributions. It is, I believe, the combination of all of these plants that makes the American Garden the intriguing melting pot that our country has always been.

Don’t settle. Mix it up.

I took this photo because I was interested in the webs on the shrubs, but those aside this picture illustrates what I'm talking about. Too many tiny green leaves! Yes, it's evergreen....but it's also ever-boring!

This new bed at Poison Ivy acres is just getting started, but it shows a variety of foliage colors and textures. Upright junipers, Summer Wine Physocarpus (purple foliage) and a variegated forsythia look great with a grass (Miscanthus 'Morning Light') and 'Zagreb' Coreopsis.

This garden illustrates that even with an assortment of textures and shades of green a garden can be absolutely beautiful. This bed combines trees, shrubs, perennials and annuals in a masterful way, because a variety of foliage colors and textures were used.

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