Foliage has an essential and complex function in the plant world. It converts sunlight to life-sustaining sugars. In garden design, leaves assume equally important roles. They prolong a border's attractions through the season, giving it depth, flow, and personality. Whereas flash-in-the-pan flowers display vibrant colors timed to guide inbound pollinators, leaves put on a longer-running show.
Leaves build architecture. Used as hedging, ground cover, background, or striking specimen, foliage defines garden contours and skylines.
In fact, a planting limited to green palettes fascinates as much as a floor show of flamboyant blooms. Of all colors, green is viewed and perceived most easily. Using various shades of green only and interweaving delicate, airy foliage with coarser leaves creates an impressive tapestry that's easy on the eyes. In an all-green garden, a single plant with bold, dramatic foliage assumes the spotlight where flowers would usually stand. It has equal impact.
Continued on page 2: Uncommon Greenery