Plants which possess silver foliage can compliment a garden in many different ways, they provide a distinct contrast planted alongside green foliage and they can provide an all year round interest, brightening up an otherwise lacklustre area of the garden. But, it is not only a dull area that can benefit from the addition of a glaucous colour, a great attribute of silver/grey foliage is the ability to reflect sunlight and conserve water, this is enhanced by the hairy type foliage or a waxy texture of the leaves which many possess.
Many of theses plants are native to hot and dry areas and therefore drought tolerant, requiring low maintenance and will perform well in a full sun area of the garden with well drained soil.
Silver foliage adds elegance and a cool sophistication to the garden and can be found on large trees down to small ground cover shrubs and perennials. Eucalyptus, the snow gum tree, is one of the hardiest of Eucalyptus and the grey
tinged leaves on white twigs radiates an impression of silver, complimented by a grey /white smooth trunk.
Pittosporum tenuifolium ‘Silver Queen’ is a large shrub which can grow to a height of four metres. Its latin name denotes thin leaves, these having white markings on the edges, giving an affect of a silvery foliage. It is an ideal plant for coastal areas. Popular small to mid-sized shrubs are lavender and Helichrysum, both release pleasant aromas, the latter being more known as the Curry plant due to its distinct curry fragrance.
With regards to small shrubs and perennials, there are plenty available and more to choose from. Convolvulus cneorm is a small shrub native to the mediterranean and displays silk grey hairs on its evergreen foliage, hence it being more known as the Silver Bush. Santolina or Cotton lavender is ideal for ground cover and filling in gaps within the borders, the yellow pompom flowers provide a nice contrast with the silver fragrant foliage.
Another popular ground cover is the perennial Lambs Ear or
. It is also known as Silver Carpet and has oval, woolly silver leaves with fine hairs and is suitable for the front of borders, covering areas with its carpet, mat forming
characteristics. There are numerous other silver foliage plants, the following are popular;
- Senecio cineraria/Silver Dust
- Sea Holly/ Eryngiums.
- Cardoon/Cynara cardunculus
- Honeywort/Cerinthe major
- Rose Campion/Lychnis coronaria
- Brunnera macrophylla/Jack Frost
If not already in possession of silver leaf plants, then why not incorporate some into the garden, either in shade or full sun areas and if every cloud has a silver lining, then surely every garden should have some silver foliage.
Most, if not all gardens there will exist an area subjected to shade, an area of comparative darkness and coolness caused by a shelter from the direct sunlight.
As the summer approaches and the strength of the sun’s rays increase, the shady areas which are often neglected should perhaps be embraced and appreciated more. Shade is created by buildings, walls, fences or tree top canopies and when a solid structure is the cause, more often than not, it will provide protection against wind too.
This microclimate can provide a pleasant seating area on a hard or soft landscaped surface, providing protection from the midday sun and strong winds. Climbing plants which are suitable to grow in shade are:
Certain types of climbing roses are also shade tolerant and some climbers are more vigorous than others which should be taken into consideration.
Shrubs can be planted directly into the ground or the use of pots maybe more appropriate. As with climbers, many shrubs can provide a profusion of colour within an area of comparative darkness.
Popular shrubs for growing in the shade are:
There are numerous other shrubs which are compatible with shade and it is advisable to research online or a visit to a nearby garden centre. The average temperature will also has a huge affect on the plants growing rate and an area of shade is most likely to have a North or North Easterly aspect and subject to cold, if not freezing temperatures during the winter. This should be taken into consideration before plant selection. Treetop canopies can provide full shade to a dapple shade and the choice of planting here should be more akin to a natural woodland environment. These would be perennials which return each year such as:
The above, once again can bring great colour and vibrancy to an otherwise sombre section
of the garden.
Therefore, no longer be kept in the dark, surround oneself with an abundance of colour and
sally forth into the shade.
Hello everyone, Green Landscapes Cornwall are sharing with you some ideas about how to implement different features for your garden!