Foliage adds a serene atmosphere to the garden. The soothing calmness of greenery is enlivened by the play of light and shadow on fronds, needles and leaflets. There is always something interesting to view when there is a variety of textures and colours of leaves in the garden. In the shade garden, this is especially important. The photo gallery at the bottom of the post shows a variety of perennial and tree leaves, and some interesting combinations.
Since the leaves are usually around for longer than flowers, it’s important to think about how they look. Placing foliage that contrasts with nearby plants, or compliments the other plants makes the garden a visual tapestry of green. A garden doesn’t have to look boring when the flowers are gone, leaves can be enjoyed for their own beauty. A few flowers might have sneaked into the photos, but mainly the foliage takes the stage.
There are many ways you can emphasize the wonderful detail in foliage. Alternating shiny leaves with matte ones, large leaves with small ones, delicately textured foliage with bold foliage, round leaves with long leaves, and smooth edged leaves with scalloped ones makes them stand out on their own. Placing plants with patterned foliage by solid coloured leaves adds subtle texture in the garden that is pleasing to view. Smooth leaves adjacent to fuzzy leaves makes them both more appealing. In the shade garden, it is especially important to play up the difference between leaves, so there is always something to catch your eye.
Here are some photos of the foliage in my garden in June. Some of these perennials are topped with beautiful flowers at other times, and some have been planted mainly for their leaves.
You can find some more foliage ideas in this earlier post.
If you like photos of interesting leaves, there are some more pictures in this post.