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Foliage 102 Ideabooks

I’m something of a plant rebel. If I’m told a plant can’t grow in shade, I’ll try it. Not hardy? I’ll test it. You shouldn’t mix certain colors? I’ll find a way to make them work. So don’t try to tell me I can’t mix different patterns in a garden border, because this wonderful combination by Seattle designer...
Great Design Plant: Sensitive Fern Shows Its Strengths
Ferns elicit primal human emotions, which is why many gardeners, including myself, are drawn to them. They mentally transport us to another place and time. Just five minutes in my fern garden can be the antidote to one of my busy and stressful days, and...
Great Design Plant: Painter’s Palette Knotweed Adds Color in Shade
Sometimes you need something different to liven up the shade-garden tapestry of ferns, hostas and hellebores. Painter’s Palette knotweed (Persicaria virginiana ‘Painter’s Palette’) might be just the answer. This isn’t the highly invasive...
Great Design Plant: Japanese Painted Fern Weaves a Garden Tapestry
So much of the woodland garden is green. While shade gardeners appreciate verdant mounds of moss, swaths of sweet box and colonies of camellias, some color...
Great Design Plant: Foamflower Cushions Shady Garden Areas
Need a densely growing ground cover for a shady spot? Foamflower (Tiarella cordifolia) fits the bill and then some. The foliage of this Mid-Atlantic native plant is evergreen, except in very cold winters, and the white, midspring blooms brighten...
Great Design Plant: Ostrich Fern (Matteuccia struthiopteris)
We gardeners can be a fickle bunch, always wanting what we seemingly cannot have. Shade gardeners want more sun; sun gardeners want more shade. There are certain plants, however, that can be employed to bridge the gap so that everyone is happy. Enter...
Big Foliage for Small Spaces
An exceptional garden is one that embraces and celebrates the unexpected. This can be a challenge in the smaller, more urban gardens that are becoming the norm for many of us. One way to inject unexpected interest into your small space is by introducing...
Get a Cool Garden Look With Gray and Blue Plants
We can do a lot with foliage. We can emphasize movement, create mystery or highlight a garden feature. Through color, foliage can also generate a mood. Blue and gray plants can recede to make way for bolder, brighter hues. But on their own, these silvery...
Boxwood Alternatives Bring the Chelsea Flower Show to You
With the end of May approaching, I’m looking forward to the Chelsea Flower Show, the highlight of the British gardening year, where top garden designers will once again wow us...
Great Design Plant: Axminster Gold Comfrey for Sun or Shade
There aren’t many plants that have good looks in both sun and shade, so when I discovered this boldly variegated perennial, I was excited to experiment with it in my garden. At first glance it could be mistaken for a hosta, but its coarse, somewhat...
Herb Garden Essentials: How to Grow Basil
Basil, native to Asia, has become a seasoning staple in cuisines around the world. The familiar and fragrant sweet basil (Ocimum basilicum) is grown as a summer annual that generally reaches about 2 feet tall. Even if you’re already...
7 New Plants to Grow for Beautiful Foliage
A garden based on flowers may be beautiful for short periods of time, but it is the foliage that holds a garden design together by spanning the seasons. Trees, shrubs and perennials all play an important role in forming the picture frames that enhance...
Great Design Plant: Little Heath Andromeda Brings 4-Season Color
I always look for interesting foliage when selecting shrubs for the landscape or a container, and Little Heath andromeda is a reliable favorite. The small green and white variegated leaves form a tidy mound, unlike some of its larger cousins that can...
Great Design Plant: Sea Grape, a Hardy Coastal Delight
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...
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...
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