Documents: Special Interest: Garden Musings:

Plants Make us Happy
by iVerde
January 17, 2016

Bright green foliage is the foundation for every planting since leaves add life to a garden. Pick from a wide array of beautiful foliage plants: summery light green, bright mint green, warm yellow-green and leaves with golden yellow spots or stripes. But did you know that a green environment also makes us happy?

The color of life

A garden has more green in it than any other color since all of its colorful flowers are surrounded by green leaves. This is perfect since green is a very soothing color. We associate green with life and youth. What’s even more important is that green surroundings make us feel happy! Research has shown that having many plants nearby has a positive effect on our mental health.

Shades of green

Perennials are available in countless shades of green. Most of their leaves are solid green, some of them being slightly lighter as they first emerge. Some have leaves that stay the same color all summer long: bright minty green, light green, warm yellow-green, amber or even green with yellow spots or golden yellow stripes. Since leaves remain on plants from early spring until winter, this lush foliage has a positive effect on both the garden and on us.

So many to choose from

Many different stunning foliage plants will make a statement in any border. Red bistort (Persicaria filiformis ‘Variegata’) for example, has bright green oval leaves adorned with creamy white and pinkish red splotches. Hosta x fortunei ‘Albopicta’ is a Plantain lily with very light green leaves with uneven deep green margins. Another Plantain lily, Hosta ‘Piermont Gold’, has golden yellow leaves. Plant this perennial and add sunshine to any spot in the garden. Not much space? Choose Creeping Jenny (Lysimachia nummularia ‘Aurea’), which has small, light green leaves and yellow flowers (it will also look lovely in a pot). What makes Heuchera ‘Caramel’ (Coral bells) so special is its evergreen leaves that vary in color from mint green to a subtle caramel.

Combining with flowering plants

Perennials with elegant foliage can provide a beautiful basis for a planting directly in the soil or in pots in the garden. Foliage plants can also be tucked in among flowering plants to keep the border or bed attractive throughout the garden season. But which foliage plants will combine well with flowering plants? Foliage plants with bright green and greenish-yellow leaves will enhance the look of yellow, red, purple, violet and blue flowering plants. A lovely example suitable for a shady location would be the combination of a Plantain lily (Hosta montana ‘Aureomarginata’) with a Columbine (Aquilegia vulgaris).

Plant and enjoy

Foliage plants can be planted from early spring until well into autumn, and their leaves will be decorative from April until the first ground frost. Vigorous perennials require scarcely any maintenance and will simply emerge again every spring. This means enjoying the welcoming and soothing effect of a garden for a long time every year.

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