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About East Oregonian : E.O. (Pendleton, OR) 1888-current | View Entire Issue (April 12, 2017)
Spring Home & Garden
Wednesday, April 12, 2017
A publication of the East Oregonian and Hermiston Herald | 211 S.E. Byers Ave. Pendleton, OR 97801 | 333 E. Main St. Hermiston, OR 97838 | © 2017 EO Media Group
50 SHADES OF GREEN,
PLUS OTHER COLORS
Costa Farms via AP
This photo shows Patriot Hosta’s variegated green and white leaves and are a great choice in a non-flower garden, says Justin Hancock of Costa Farms.
By KIM COOK
hile beds tumbling with
flowers are lovely, there’s
an emerging trend in
landscape design: the
Non-traditional gardens are no less
green. In fact, the hue is often more
obvious than in a floral-filled space.
Varieties of leafy shrubs, trees, vines
and grasses create a verdant vista, even
in small gardens. An additional perk:
these gardens may be significantly
easier to maintain than a plot full of
Justin Hancock of Costa Farms, a
nursery in Miami, describes two types
of non-traditional gardens: “One is a
soothing, naturalistic garden that’s filled
with different shades of green,” he says.
“The other is a little more flamboyant
and uses variegated plants to bring in
splashes of color.”
Both offer a pleasing aesthetic in all
seasons, and you don’t need to worry
about plants going in and out of bloom.
A Zen-like garden keeps the focus on
the garden structure itself, with greenery
Shawn Fitzgerald of the Kent, Ohio-
based Davey Tree Company, thinks
hardscaping should also be a consider-
ation in these gardens.
“A water feature always adds a nice
element — a pond, or a creek, with the
“One of my favorite ways to make a small space feel larger is to plant
varieties that have rich green, purple, or orange foliage up front, and incor-
porate white-variegated leaves at the back,” says Justin Hancock of Costa
Farms. Forever Purple Heuchera and Campfire Coleus paint a vivid portrait
in a garden without flowers.
sound of running water. It’s especially
nice if you have some lush foliage over
the water,” he says.
He encourages adding of rocks,
perhaps some large and small boulders
“And, of course, benches are always
great,” Fitzgerald says. “Who doesn’t
like to sit and reflect in a peaceful
garden, under some nice shade cover?”
Hancock suggests using variegated
shrubs or trees to add color and texture
to a garden. Give similarly hued plants
like hostas, dusty miller and succulents
a tonal frame by placing them next to
bluestone pavers, he suggests. Or play
with scale perception by graduating
dark and light greenery along a pathway.
“One of my favorite ways to make
a small space feel larger is to plant
varieties that have rich green, purple,
or orange foliage up front, and incor-
porate white-variegated leaves at the
back. Because the light color recedes,
it creates an optical illusion of more
space,” he says.
No matter what hardiness zone
you’re in, there’s one annual he recom-
mends for any non-traditional garden.
“Coleus is one of the most versatile
foliage plants you can choose. Some
tolerate full sun, but most grow in
shade, too,” he says. “You can get
varieties in so many colors. Redhead,
which is a personal favorite; Campfire,
which is purple and orange; chartreuse
Wasabi; gold Honeycrisp. Plant these in
the spring, and enjoy them right through
Sweet potato vine is another easy-
care annual, with multi-colored varieties.
“On the perennial side, hostas are
beautiful shade plants that thrive from
Alaska way down to Texas,” says
Hancock. “Variegated liriope has a wide
planting range, and has deep green,
grassy leaves edged in gold or silver.”
Heuchera, also known as coral bells,
“is another perennial that, like coleus,
offers tremendous versatility with
leaves in a wide range of colors, and
varieties that thrive in sun or shade,”
Fitzgerald recommends palm trees
for southern zones 8-11. Gardeners
in the Mid-Atlantic might consider
cool-season grasses that bloom early,
and warm-season ones that bloom
at summer’s end. For the Northeast,
varieties of conifers provide year-round
Hancock’s pick for a great North
American native shrub is ninebark.
“It’s practically bulletproof, and
offers colorful foliage,” he says.
“Diabolo is an older variety that has
deep purple leaves from spring to fall
and grows big, making it a stunner.
Dart’s Gold is a smaller variety, with
Red twig dogwood, elderberry and
variegated Japanese white pine would
also provide all-season interest, he
“The key to a garden where flowers
aren’t the focus is foliage,” says Fitz-
gerald. “There are lots of trees, shrubs
and plants with stems, fruit and foliage
of different sizes, shapes and textures.
Just because there aren’t flowers doesn’t
mean your garden can’t be colorful.”
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