Shades Of Green

DGW 2006_07_26 (31)The success of this window box has little to do with the flowers. The color of the foliage is the story. The blue green foliage makes the carmine purple petunias pop.  Though I have a big love for flowers, flowers come with green leaves standard issue..  As in pale green, medium green, dark green, yellow green, blue green, black green-you get the idea. Consider the leaf color when designing containers. A container garden is a landscape in miniature. When the spaces are small, every move you make matters.  Every choice makes waves.

DGW 2006_09_05 (10) This container has nothing to say about flowers either.  It has a lot to say about texture.  It has even more to say about a particular shade of green.  A great container is deliberate in exploring the relationships between all of the colors involved.

leaves (13)A succulent is not my most favorite plant. But this kind of green is available in few other plants.  Not every plant in a container has to be a favorite.  But every plant should be chosen for what it contributes to the mix.leaves (3)Grey foliaged plants can inform any color scheme.  I am a big fan of the Cirrus dusty miller.  The felted gray leaves look great with pink, yellow, purple , or white flowers. Gray green foliage in a container planting can cool off a hot color scheme.  Interested in a cool and serene scheme?  Choose cool green foliage over yellow green foliage.

leaves (16)I have never been so much a fan of gray in the landscape.  By itself, gray recalls rainy days, and not much else. But gray foliage in combination with other flower colors shines. Gray green foliage and white flowers-classic.  Gray green foliage and pale yellow-worth a look. Gray green foliage and red violet petunias-a happening.  Gray, white and cool green-a tri-color container color combination is rhythmic.

leaves (44)Medium green is a workhorse of a foliage color.

leaves (14)
Vinca vine is a most ordinary and widely available trailing container plant.  Give it another look.  This particular shade of green variegated with so pale cream yellow edges may endow your container planting with just the right shade of green.

polka-dot-plant.jpgdieffenbachia with white polka dot plant and lime licorice

leaves (36)Have a love for lime green?  This shade of green is electric. Should you have the idea to make a big splash, lime green foliage will make your hot pink and orange flowers glow.  An orange lantana standard will be lit from underneath, given an under planting of creeping jenny or lime licorice.  or this crazy corkscrew rush.

leaves (6)The new growth of almost every plant in the spring is one shade of lime green or another. If you have a mind to celebrate the opening of the garden all summer long, lime green plants are happy to oblige.

dieffenbachiapale green dieffenbachia will light up a shady spot.

leaves (54)lime green variegated potato vine sizzles.
leaves (42)lemon cypress

leaves (53)coprosma is a lime variegated plant grown for its glossy splashy foliage.  it grows 2-3 feet tall, and will do in sun and part sun.

leaves (24)This dark foliaged dahlia has brilliant orange flowers.

summer-planting.jpgSee what I mean about green?


  1. patty paras says

    Is that mood moss at the base of the Green Cypress?

  2. Great post Deborah – and just in time. Thanks the reminder that it’s really easy being green. You rock Lady.

  3. Totally inspiring and informational post. It has never occured to me to use dieffenbachia in an outside planter…food for thought.

    • Deborah Silver says

      Dear Michaele, just be sure you put it in enough shade-it will burn like crazy in any other situation besides bright shade. Thanks, Deborah

  4. I do see your point about green. Maybe green is the unsung hero of the window box world. Doing an herb window box this year.

    Love the corkscrew rush, I think that’s my favorite one.

  5. Mike Haynes says

    Hi Deborah! Is that Heliotrope in the center of the first window box? Can you tell me what some of the other plants are too? What an awesome look! I know you’ve probably heard it many times before, but your eye for textures, colors and overall design is so on point!! Thanks for the posts!

    • Deborah Silver says

      Dear Mike, Perfume purple nicotiana, red bor kale, persian shield, petunias, lavender trailing verbena and succulents whose names I can’t remember! Thanks, Deborah

  6. Is the spiky silver plant in the second pot an artichoke?

    • Deborah Silver says

      Dear Andrea, it is a cardoon, or artichoke thistle. Artichokes that you eat are called globe artichokes. Deborah

  7. Deborah,
    You have a photo of a window box with Carmine Purple Purple Petunias in it. Could you please tell me how I can get my hands on some of these seeds ? I would be thankful.

  8. I spend hours looking at plant design and this is,by far, the most outstanding and beautifully full yet!

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