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How to Break Up the Sea of Green in the Garden

Add interest in the shade with color, pattern, and texture

Fine Gardening – Issue 172

Janice Becker’s garden in Deerfield, Illinois, is an island of horticultural diversity in a neighborhood ruled by turf grass, mature trees, and occasional ground covers. She has created a plant lover’s paradise, packed with tried-and-true favorites and an intriguing mix of new and unusual cultivars.

“There’s no master plan or grand design. I like to experiment,” Janice says. “For me, gardening is all about figuring out what I can grow and how it will look.”

Janice loves color, and it is especially interesting how she uses it in her shadiest beds. Flowers make regular appearances throughout the season, but foliage is the main focus. Every shade of green is represented, tinged and splashed with gold, red, blue, white, and inky purple.

Plant combinations include plenty of artful contrast in scale and texture. There’s enough color and pattern repetition to keep conversations between plant neighbors polite, and enough…

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