Everyday Gardeners

Plant. Grow. Live.

Who Needs Flowers?

Variegated CallicarpaFlowers can be flighty things — plants seem to go in and out of bloom all the time and delicate petals are often damaged by heavy rain or fade quickly in hot temperatures.

That’s why I tend to use a lot of plants with fun foliage when I do garden designs. Here, for example, is a variegated beautyberry (Callicarpa) — it’s a knockout now and I can’t wait for fall when the stems are adorned with its stunning purple fruits.

So next time you go shopping for plants at your local garden center, pay more attention to the leaves. You can create some amazing plant combinations by playing off foliage.

For example, try mixing a pool of white-edged hostas with some with white centers. The effect is subtle, but smashing. Or make a shrub like this beautyberry stand out by pairing it with the rich purple foliage of a dwarf ninebark or dark green rose of Sharon.

Or mix some plants with chartreuse foliage in with those that are more silvery-blue in nature. They’ll look good spring to autumn.

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