So Green, So Serene

It is an unusual client that opts for a green garden.  I doubt I have the discipline this requires-though the front of the shop is grey, green and white this year.  Truth be told, I love flowers.  All manner of flowers, all shapes, all sizes.  Little flowers-fine. Subtle flowers-I see.  Daisies-no matter that I see them everywhere, I love them.  The flowers that grace my summer-I love them one and all.   Giant flowers-what fun. Blooms-I am besotted by them.  But a green garden does have that aura of  serenity about it.

Serene does not necessarily mean sleepy. The infinite variation in color, shape, texture and mass of green plants is astonishing.  Green plants of singular form populate this planet such that one could plant any number of green schemes and never repeat oneself. These containers with ferns and pepperomia are lush growing, content on this porch.   

An old bay tree in a varnished Belgian box provides solid company to a long narrow window box. 

Plectranthus Silver Shield makes a swell, densely growing summer ground cover in a small space.  The thick felted grey green leaves are quite handsome.  That frosty green color persists in the sunniest and hottest spots you have, and is easy on the eyes. Its billowing habit of growth is very attractive.

The plants in the window box look like bunting casually draping over the window box rail.  Those needled succulents are quite blue-green, and look great with the dichondra.  There is no brass band blaring here, just a plant string quartet quietly playing a simple melody. 

This white pergola with its wisteria roof is beautiful; there is no need to introduce a competitve element.  The mandevillea in the the boxes repeats the vining of the wisteria; the white flowers echo the white wood of the pergola.  Getting a planting to sit down and blend in seamlessly with all and any other garden elements makes for a serene space.  When plants talk too much, bicker, or compete with one another, the space will take a much more lively turn.  Deciding how high you like the volume outdoors can help you decide what and how to plant.   

Green spaces have an added attraction;  most shades and textures of green look great together.  When you use materials that are all the same color, it encourages you to see the differences.  What textures compliment or enhance each other? Big leaves look great with little leaves.  Shiny leaves look great with hairy leaves.  I am surprised I do not see more groundcover plantings that mix vinca and baltic ivy.  The contrast of leaf size and texture is subtle, and interesting.  

Topiary plants are a natural in a  green garden.  Many plants can be trained to grow in formally or informally clipped shapes.  The common denominator to all-the hand of the gardener, clipping and training towards an overall shape.  The effect of these groupings of pots is restful.  The formally pruned yews make a beautifully dark green backdrop for this collection of topiary. 



  1. This was a beautiful garden and design. I love the view from the pergola, as well as the pergola itself.I once had to design a garden with only white blooms for an outdoor wedding in 2005. The property was large like this appears to be. We had used many potted box and arbs, but did not think about the topiary versions. You are right, it is really needed for the form, structure and texture.

  2. Lovely post, as usual. The groundcover for my largest bed is vinca (planted urgently after your groundcover versus mulch post last spring). How aggressive is baltic ivy? Could it take over my grass or start climbing trees?

    • Deborah Silver says

      Dear Ashley, well done, getting rid of your mulch beds! Baltic ivy is aggressive. You need edger strip to contain it, and you do have to trim. It will climb trees-when it is old. Old ivy up tree trunks is pretty beautiful, actually. Deborah

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