More Ado About Leaves

The fact that not all foliage is “green” comes as no surprise to any gardener.  Modern hybridization of plants has  produced some truly unusual leaf coloration.  The numbers of coleus hybrids available has dramatically increased, although the nomenclature is confusing, and some colors go beyond moody to just plain muddy.  This sparkling variety has clear,  brilliant color, and a luxuriant habit of growth.  I do like plants that make me look like a good gardener. �
Even the red and orange coleus varieties seem to have much improved coloration and habit.  Plant hybridizers work very hard.  �
  The toothy leaves of this coleus variety are unique; the lime centers only make the orange seem more orange.  Supremely orange.  �
 This green and white variegated hibiscus is notable for its leaves, rather than its flowers.  The occasional red blooms are a pleasing surprise. A red-stemmed, variegated leaf hibiscus that grows large and vase shaped gets my attention ahead of the big flowered tropical hibiscus.  Why is this?;  see for yourself.  �
This small leaved coleus the color of butterscotch  has a good companion in this tree fern.  Though tree ferns can grow to 18′ tall in New Zealand, a one gallon size plant makes a good show in a container over the course of a Michigan  season. The exotic and unexpected appearance of foliage of another color can create drama and interest in public places.  Who would think a diminutive thread leaf alternanthera could make such a big statement in the same pot with a giant canna?  This is about the good fun that gardening can be. Who knew this pot would grow out better than I thought it could be?

The incredible range of plant material available guarantees that no annual gardener need ever repeat themselves.  It occurs to me that much of what I am able to do depends on the people in my area who grow plants.  They test different things, they make the tried and true  available, they see to it that I am able to work.  They get out of bed on a Sunday at 3am when the heat in a greenhouse goes off.  They are gardeners of a different sort.  They depend on the plants to pay their mortgages, and educate their children.  I support my local growers; I hope you do too. �

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