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Leaf It Up To Foliage to Spice up Your Digs

In today’s garden foliage has just as an important role to add color and interest as flowers themselves. There are so many options these days that one should not have much trouble. From ferns to annuals, foliar color has come a long way. Grey, purple, variegated, glossy, hairy, blue-grey, lime, pink, red…the options seem limitless.

There are a lot of old favorites that have gotten a new foliar lift with new cultivars coming out every day. You can even get variegated Goutweed! If that doesn’t tell you that leaves are in than, I don’t know what will (just promise that you won’t plant any). Taking some time to see what already exists in your garden is a great place to start. You may already have some plants that have great leaves. Shrubs are a great plant to use as an anchor. For example, if you have a Purple leaf Sandcherry, then you may want to add something silver or lime. Don’t put purple with purple or silver with silver. The goal with foliage is to have it move your eye throughout the garden so there is a smooth transition from place to place. Too many different specimens could also leave you with a headache or even motion sickness. Pick your pallet and stick with it. The worst thing to do is to change your mind every time you go to the nursery and spend a whole lot of cash on a whole lot of clash.

Starting with something big is a good idea because accenting it with smaller specimens will be easier than the other way around. You don’t have to do it all at once; you can gradually replace green doldrums with fresh picks slowly but surely as your budget will allow. Just choose plants that are appropriate to your environment and climate. Getting the right plant for the right spot is winning half the battle. Being creative is winning the war. Speaking of creative, bold mixes can also be quite striking if that is up your alley. Contrasting a special garden trinket with an edgy plant can become topic of conversation to passing neighbors or at your next garden party. It starts to become easier and easier to get a little bolder each time you add a plant into your garden. Gardening is one of the easiest ways to express yourself, and not to mention, it is relaxing.

Some plants may display a leaf or two that looks as though it is reverting back to its original state. Simply cut out the inverted area back past a node that is cultivated. Leaving them will just encourage the plant to keep reverting until the whole plant turns into its original state. Check every now and then for a while to make sure this is not occurring. Prune out any persistent reverted new growth as it comes in and eventually it will get the hint and stop.  This is pretty normal so don’t be too alarmed.

A mix of different foliage is a simple way to dress up an area that has become dull over the years. Besides color, size and shape, texture is one other way you can add interest to your new foliar garden. By adding lacy ferns, waxy hostas and furry lambs’s ear, your plants will stand out and highlight each other. It only takes one to start and next thing you know, you find yourself looking at what other shades leaves come in rather than what color the blooms are. At this point you can consider yourself a more sophisticated gardener and deserve a pat on the back. There really is more than meets the eye in a garden!

Some of my personal favorites that I found not only to be exceptional companions, but also easy to care for:

Miscanthus
‘Zwergzebra’
Ophiopogon planiscapus
‘Ebknizam’
 

Heuchera sp.

Taxus x media
‘Sunburst’
 
Coleus sp. Acer palmatum
‘Bloodgood’
 
Canna
‘Tropicanna’
Ornamental Kale
 
Phalaris arundinacea  

Amalfi with Natural Stone Border  Steps

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