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Foliage 90 Ideabooks

The bright green mouse-ear leaves of the native sea grape tree make me smile. It isn’t just because sea grapes are drought tolerant and salt tolerant — or even because they help stabilize dunes. It’s the plant’s bubbly appearance and happy-go-lucky attitude that make my heart melt. Luckily, it’s very easy...
Great Design Plant: Autumn Fern Adds Color All Year
The name of this fern is misleading, suggesting that it offers value to the garden only in fall. Certainly it is a highlight of autumnal designs, but the first photograph below was taken at the end of June! I was cutting equally colorful fronds in August...
Great Design Plant: Louie Eastern White Pine
Seattle is renowned for its gray skies and seemingly endless rain, so those of us who live here seek out plants that add a Midas touch, especially to the winter garden. Trees, shrubs and perennials that offer bright...
Green-Only Gardens Draw the Eye and Soothe the Spirit
We often strive to put colors in our planting designs, in the use of both foliage and flower. But are different colors essential? If we skillfully choose and combine plants, a monochromatic green palette can give us just as much interest as flowers with...
Great Design Plant: Sourwood Brings Fiery Fall Color
Sourwood is an outstanding yet underutilized tree for the smaller landscape. The layers of midgreen foliage resemble a froth of petticoats, especially when studded with drooping clusters of white flowers in July. The interest doesn't end there — the...
6 Fantastic Ferns to Enliven Shady Garden Spots
Living and working in the Pacific Northwest, I am regularly confronted with dark, moist sites that exist under a dense canopy of trees — perfect conditions for a garden accented with ferns. There are few other plants that are able to flourish in difficult...
Moss: Nature's Carpet for the Garden
Moss in a garden is like comfort food for the soul. There is arguably no other plant that conjures up primordial feelings of mystery, peace and nurture. Fossils have been discovered that date moss back to 400 million years ago, indicating that it preceded...
Great Design Plant: Ogon Spirea for Radiance and Texture
I am always on the lookout for easy-care shrubs with great foliage that are drought tolerant and deer resistant. Ogon spirea is that and more — it is one of the earliest-blooming shrubs in my garden and one of the last to lose its leaves. Its...
Texture Talk: 4 Foliage Types for Distinctive Gardens
The word "texture" usually brings to mind the tactile quality of an object — how it feels to the touch — but here we're talking about the visual aspect of texture. Texture is an element of design that can be used to create distinction among harmonious...
The Right Touch: 13 Soft, Fuzzy Plants for Gardens and Pots
There are certain plants whose fuzzy leaves and flowers just beg to be touched. They make walking through the garden a delight for more than just the eyes. Fortunately, some of the most touchable plants are relatively easy to include in a landscape. There...
Your Garden: 6 Fragrant Plants Surprise and Delight
One of the secrets to a successful garden design is to incorporate something unexpected, a surprise for the garden visitor. This can be done in many ways, but one surefire way to enliven a garden and create interest is to use scented plants. Most of us...
Great Design Plant: Coastal Sweet Pepperbush Perfumes Gardens All Year
Put fragrant plants near a walkway or patio, and you instantly add a whole new dimension, making functional spaces feel more enticing with scent. You'll want to linger longer outdoors if you've got coastal sweet pepperbush (Clethra alnifolia) perfuming...
Great Garden Combo: Silver Sparkles Amid Purple and Blue Foliage
So often the landscaping that embraces the front of a home is less than exciting. In the Pacific Northwest, we suffer from an overload of junipers, rhododendrons and azaleas — what we refer to as the "builders basics." Perhaps where you live, every...
Baby Tears Mimics Moss for a Green Accent Indoors
Baby tears is a diminutive and delicate creeping herb with tiny bright green kidney-shaped leaves and multitudes of almost inconspicuous white flowers when in bloom. It grows close to the ground in mats and is often used in ornamental gardens alongside...
Container Garden Basics: Mix Textures to Catch the Eye
Successful container arrangements depend on many factors; some, such as color, are more obvious than others. But the subtler element of texture can take an arrangement from tiresome to terrific. A design that uses plants with the same texture, via...
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