Clever Gardening Technique
Add Interest with Leaf Color and Texture
When planning a perennial flower garden, it's easy to think mostly about the contribution the blossoms of the plants will make to the overall scheme. But don't forget to keep the color and texture of foliage in mind as well. You can add lots of long-lasting visual interest by contrasting the bold leaves of hostas with the feathery foliage of astilbe, for example, or the broad, woolly, gray-green leaves of lamb's ears with the dramatic, upright spears of yucca leaves. Heucheras now come with leaves in a wide array of colors and leaf patterns, including purples and oranges, richly veined or dusted with silver. Variegated hostas or brunnera can light up a shady corner; variegated iris makes a vertical focal point in a sunny spot. As the flowers in the garden come and go, let foliage keep up the show.
Cornell Flower Growing Guides
Looking for advice on how to grow a particular flower? Cornell Flower Growing Guides is a great resource, listing (by both botanical and common names) 269 flowering and foliage plants from Achillea to Zinnia. Each plant profile includes detailed descriptions and growing instructions, site and soil requirements, varieties, and special uses, along with an image.