I can’t talk or write enough about the value of good solid green foliage in the garden. It’s getting harder to find good greens with the sea of crazy colors being hybridized these days, and the endless choice of so many variegated and copper leaf plants. I have written before about using dark greens in the flowering border as a break or ‘pause plant’ as I like to call it. These solid greens slow down the experience of looking at flowering plants, and the same idea can be applied to trees and shrubs in the larger landscape. I find poetry in the garden is often to be found in the subtle shifts from one value of green to another. Putting a dark green plant behind a lighter leaf plant makes the lighter plant pop.
The reverse of this is also true.
In a larger landscape, the shift from dark to light to mid green can be played out in large scale, creating a very beautiful symphony of greens. Paying attention to how we plant for maximum affect is a especially beneficial when trees and shrubs are no longer in flower.
I have taken a few photos to show how I like to use some of the deep greens. Yews, arborvitae techy, star magnolia, climbing hydrangea, tall blades of yellow flag iris, lilac, dark willowy foliage of buckthorn-fine line, and dark waxy leaves of the fringe tree. As I look out my window I can’t help noticing and appreciating the dark green foliage of my horseradish – what a handsome plant! I am sure you have your favorite greens plants as well.
I have written before about using dark greens in the flowering border as a break or ‘pause plant’ as I like to call it.
As Mozart said, the rests between the notes were as important as the notes.
I love that Deirdre and hadn’t heard it before. I think all art has a similar appreciation. I know painting does.
Don—I do really like that juxtaposition and the visual rhythm you mention, and enjoy subtle shifts in tonality. I once had a conversation with someone about rhythmic effects in the garden—was it you? ,Not often discussed. I like to play with subtle gradations and variations within a color group. So much more poetic and satisfying than meretricious, in your face “Let’s put purple next to yellow-green” effects.
I couldn’t agree more Deirdre! I remember seeing a planting you did at the Cloisters that had exactly that subtle shift in greens!