We strive to include color in our landscape 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 (a “green garden”) can give us just as much interest as flowers with different colors and be spectacular in its uniqueness.
This effect can be attained by:
• Varying foliage – introducing not only different tones of green but also varying the foliage finish — from dull matte to deep shine.
• Varying the shapes and sizes of leaves and plants. We always want to vary shapes of plants in the landscape, but it is essential in a green-only garden.
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 especially 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 off 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. It clumping habit of hairy, light green leaves hold drops of water after rain. Often used as a ground cover.
Coneflower (Echinacea and Rudbeckia) There are several beautiful coneflowers that bloom green flowers. Echinacea purpurea ‘Coconut Lime’ and ‘Green Envy’ are both hardy perennials that have interesting green tinted blooms. Rudbeckia occidentalis ‘Green Wizard’ has an extremely 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 falls 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 very hardy tree hydrangea can reach 8′ tall by 8′ wide. As fall approaches, its greenish blooms take on a rosy tinge.
In the garden, green is the most common foliage color, yet one of the rarest flower colors. Green flowers are unusual, so when presented correctly, they add an air of sophistication to the landscape. Using just one color but in a variety of shades and can be far from boring, this type of restraint allows the focus to be on the juxtaposition of textures and shapes for dramatic effect.
Interested in a green garden for your landscape design? Give us a call.