A Garden of Green
Using foliage and flowers, we strive to include color in our landscape designs. But are different colors essential? If we skillfully choose and combine plants, a monochromatic green palette (a “green garden”) can give us as much interest as flowers with different colors—and be spectacular in their uniqueness.
This effect can be attained by:
- Varying foliage – introducing different tones of green and varying the foliage finish — from dull matte to deep shine.
- Varying the shapes and sizes of leaves and plants. We always want to vary the shapes of plants in the landscape, but it is essential in a green-only garden.
Green is the most common foliage color in the garden, yet one of the rarest flower colors. Green flowers are unusual, so they add sophistication to the landscape when presented correctly.
Green Garden Options
For variation in the landscape through the seasons, we layer in a selection of plants that produce green flowers. While green flowers exist, they are somewhat uncommon. There are, though, quite a few flowers with a tinge of green as their flowers mature to another color, mainly to white, which works exceptionally well against green foliage. The list includes perennials, ground cover and flowering shrubs that are great additions to a “green garden.”
Hellebore (Helleborus argutifolius) – also known as Corsican Rose, blooms large heads of pale green, dainty flowers in late winter and early spring. The foliage is beautiful as well when the plant is not blooming. Hellebores not only have deeply cut, dark green leaves that fit nicely into a green planting palette, but some varieties show green coloring in their maturing flowers. Helleborus niger, the Christmas Rose, has white flowers that start as the palest of lime greens before maturing to a clean white. The Hellebore with the most convincing green flowers is H. foetidus, the Stinking Hellebore, which has tall spires of lime-green flowers held above spiky, deep green foliage.
Lady’s mantle (Alchemilla mollis) is a perfect herbaceous perennial to use in a green garden. A clumping habit of hairy, light green leaves hold drops of water after rain. They are often used as a ground cover.
Coneflower (Echinacea and Rudbeckia) Several beautiful coneflowers bloom green flowers. Echinacea purpurea ‘Coconut Lime’ and ‘Green Envy’ are hardy perennials with attractive green-tinted blooms. Rudbeckia occidentalis ‘Green Wizard’ has a dark center with small bright green petals.
Iris ‘Olive Garden’ If you love irises, the unusual ‘Olive Garden’ should be on your want list. This Standard Dwarf Bearded blooms pale yellow-green standard and fall with a bright whitish-blue beard very early in the season.
Hydrangea ‘Limelight’ makes a statement in any garden. It produces large panicles of pale green blooms which fade to white with age or heat. This hardy tree hydrangea can reach eight feet tall by eight feet wide. As fall approaches, its greenish blooms take on a rosy tinge.
Green is the most common foliage color in the garden, yet one of the rarest flower colors. Green flowers are unusual, so they add sophistication to the landscape when presented correctly. Using just one color but in a variety of shades can be far from boring, this type of restraint allows the focus to be on the juxtaposition of textures and shapes for dramatic effect.
Are you interested in a green garden for your landscape design? Give us a call.