Green in the Garden

Learn how the color green affects you and your garden. Then discover the best ways to use green, both alone and in combination with other colors.
The Green Season
Green_Fanned Out Green Leaves Sprouting From Tree Branch
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Japanese maple produces fan-shaped
leaves in a variety of hues,
including a vibrant green.

The green season begins with the pale green cones of uncurling hostas and coils of fiddlehead ferns. Summer deepens new green into mature shades. Boulders, tree trunks, and ponds may disclose the startling lime green of lichens, mosses, and algae. Mediterranean and other dry-climate plants offer a palette of dusty gray-greens that diffuse the sun's burning rays through summer's hottest days.

Green makes shady places appear fresh and cool, especially when the picture is woven with white flowers or variegated foliage. Two-tone leaves that pair green with white, silver, or gold dapple the shade with bright highlights. In coleus, houttuynia, and tovara leaves, green mingles with reds, purples, and blues, resulting in a wide palette of possibilities for shade.

Green_Green Ferns With Red Straw Grass
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Not a flower in sight, but many
shades of green thanks to pine
bidi-bidi (Acaena spp.) and
Japanese blood grass.

Consider nearby greens when placing intense flower colors in the border. Green tinged with red ensures an effective union between deep, dramatic red and purple, or yellow and purple. Chartreuse or yellow-green foliage brings out the best in purple and yellow combos. The blue-green of hosta and yucca leaves flatters pastels and (in generous portions) makes small spaces appear larger.

Continued on page 2:  The Planting o' the Green


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