When I was young I loved visiting my grandmother’s shady perennial beds in central Indiana. They were filled with every leafy shape the mind could imagine, yet rarely a flower could be found. My grandmother taught me that there are other beautiful options that can bring just as much joy to your gardening heart. Both foliage and decorative glass offer colorful alternatives to the traditional blooming beds and I use them as much as I can in my own garden.
Planning your foliage garden well means your garden can stay beautiful year round without flowers. Mixing leaf structures and plant heights adds interest. At the top you see Fern ‘lady fern’ mixed with Hosta ‘halcyon’ in my side garden at home. I love the blue of the hosta because it contrasts marvelously with the bright green of the soft, feathery-leaved ferns.
A favorite combination is to mix some coleus love into my shade vegetable containers. Lacinto Kale from Bonnie Plants and Coleus from Hort Couture’s ‘Under the Sea’ line make a fabulous color splash together. No flowers can be seen, but the foliage color is astounding and really adds to a shade patio container arrangement (see below).
Mixing Heuchera and Hosta together can be a brilliant foliage combination. In the garden bed above you see a random bed plan of Heuchera ‘snow angel’ and Heuchera ‘beaujolais’ mixed with Hosta ‘krossa regal’, Hosta ‘gold standard’, and Hosta ‘half and half’.
Want to keep your perennials in place while adding color and interest with glass? Bring whimsical glass accessories in to the garden beds. I have endless wine bottle paths (photo above) draped with ground cover and a fantastic bottle tree (photo right) I found at Carolee’s Herb Farm, a favorite stop whenever I am in central Indiana.
Bottle trees are a remarkably cool folk art brought from Africa and the Middle East centuries ago and were originally used to capture bad spirits. Now they capture color and light and bring a bit of joy to my suburban shade garden.
Below are two books I recommend to help you study up on filling your garden with color not found in a flower; Fine Foliage by Karen Chapman and Christina Salwitz is a delightful full color book which brings wonderful ideas for foliage color combinations, and Bottle trees.. and the Whimsical Art of Garden Glass by Felder Rushing is an outstanding full color celebration of creative glass-in-the-garden creations.
According the FTC, I need to let you know that I received products in this story at no cost in exchange for reviewing them.
Garden Obsession, Gardening, Get the Look, Plants | Tags:
books, bottle trees, bottles, christina salwitz, Coleus, edible, felder rushing, fern, fine foliage, Foliage, garden book, glass, heuchera, hosta, kale, karen chapman, perennial bed, perennials, Shawna Coronado, shed, vegetable, wine
Just in time for holiday gift giving, four new gardening books have been released by Better Homes and Gardens. And even though the season for digging in the dirt may be months away, you (and your gardening friends) won’t have time to read once the weather breaks, so now is the ideal time to study up on gardening techniques and dream about plants to add to your collection next year. (By means of full disclosure, I have a vested interest in these books. I managed the editorial teams that put these titles together.) All are available through John Wiley & Sons, Publishers. Just follow the individual book links below to see more details or place an order.
Gardening Made Simple is a new cornerstone book, designed to help anyone get started in gardening. Rather than fretting that it might be too difficult, follow the step-by-step instructions and photographs to success in your garden, whether you’re growing edibles or ornamentals. No more excuses about not having a green thumb! This book includes more than 1,200 photographs and hundreds of Test Garden Tips and answers to common questions from the Better Homes and Gardens Garden Doctor. Its 400 pages include plant profiles of the easiest and most popular plants to grow. $24.99.
Better Homes and Gardens Herb Gardening will demystify the art of growing herbs. Learn how to add zing to your diet with healthful herbs. The book includes recipes from the Better Homes and Gardens Test Kitchen for herbal teas, spreads, sauces, dressings, and seasonings. The encyclopedia section describes 145 herbs and includes dozens of how-to growing tips. $19.99.
Better Homes and Gardens Orchid Gardening simplifies growing techniques for this gorgeous group of flowers. Choose your favorites from a gallery containing more than 200 varieties of easy-to-grow beauties. This 192-page book includes lots of step-by-step instructions to ensure success with orchids. $19.99.
Better Homes and Gardens Water Gardening shows you how you can create a restful water garden retreat in your own landscape. Whether you have space only for a container water garden or a large water feature with cascades and pools, this book will guide you through the process. Seasonal care charts serve as reminders of what to do when with your water garden. It even includes 15 plant-by-number water garden plans. $19.99.
With temperatures here in Des Moines forecast for the mid-40s this weekend for the first time in more than 3 months, we’re daring to think that spring may finally be on its way. It will take several more weeks for all the snow to melt away, but in the meantime I can plan and dream about what I’ll plant in the yard this year. We’ve recently come out with two new books that will help.
Both of these books feature plant-by-number plans for gardens that are sure to appeal to those who like a template to follow. Each plan lists how many plants of each type are needed, shows where to plant them in relation to the other plants, and has a picture of the gorgeous results you can get by following the plan. If you can follow a recipe, you can plant these gardens! If you’re more inclined to venture into uncharted territory, you’ll find lots of inspiring plant combinations and ideas to incorporate into your own plans.
Both of these 224-page books are published by Wiley Publishing and retail for $19.95. They are available at major bookstores or you can purchase them online at Wiley Publishing or at Amazon.com. Here’s a link to details on Beds & Borders. And here are the details on Container Gardening.