Garden Photo of the Day

It Is Easy Being Green

A garden designed with a focus on the color green


I’m Ruth Kenworthy Ecker of Wellesley, Massachusetts. I am a member of a local garden club and serve on the board of the Garden Club Federation of Massachusetts. Though I have no formal training in hands-on-horticulture, I have adored gardens all my life and have been observant of those elements that appeal to me. After retiring, I thought I’d try try my hand at landscape design. Green-on-green is soothing to me. But who doesn’t like color? I also maintain two manageable, perennial garden plots filled with color mostly in a rosy pallet.

This is an absolutely beautiful, but simple, combination. Spotted deadnettle (Lamium maculatum, Zones 3–8) is a vigorous (sometimes a little too vigorous) ground cover with silver painted leaves, here combining perfectly with a white variegated euphorbia (Euphorbia sp.).

A purple ornamental onion (Allium sp.) shows off beautifully here mixed with ferns. It almost looks like the ferns are flowering!

A view of part of Ruth’s garden handiwork showing her emphasis on rich shades of green, but with points of color here and there.

This butterfly certainly appreciates the flowers. It has settled on a lantana (Lantana camara, Zones 8–10 or as an annual), which is a plant always well loved by butterflies.

A study in shades of green. Sometimes green fades into the background in a garden, but without any flowers, this scene allows you to take a moment and appreciate all the different shades and variants of green and how beautiful they are.

Here the green is broken up with delicate flowers of astilbe (Astilbe chinensis, Zones 4–8) and comfortable chairs welcoming you to sit back and enjoy the quiet beauty.


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  1. nwphillygardener 04/24/2019

    That looks like Euphorbia 'Tasmanian Tiger' and that's a great pairing. Folks who go after maximum contrast between foliage color miss the fun subtleties of a plant palette harmonized by similar color variegations. One could add Japanese Sedges (Carex) or Hostas with white margins…and all these plants would "have a dialogue"

  2. nwphillygardener 04/24/2019

    In the photo with the beautiful Astilbe near a sitting area, I think that weeping blooms suggests Astilbe thunbergia 'Ostrich Plume' rather than Astilbe chinensis which has heavier upright flowers. I especially love that weeping habit that reminds me of Goatsbeard, aka Aruncus

  3. nwphillygardener 04/24/2019

    I really love the idea of mixing the Allium in with the Ostrich Ferns. That's a perfect combination since, for some reason the strappy blades of the Alliums are often already in decline just as the flowers bloom. But planted amongst taller ferns those unsightly leaves would be hidden. And the combo magical

  4. User avater
    meander_michaele 04/24/2019

    What a beautiful soul satisfying view you have while standing right outside that blue door. One has to give fair credit to how much the swath of lush grass also contributes to the verdant serenity. Include me also as a big fan of the allium flowering among the ferns...that gives a very delightful effect and yes, does solve the problem of the premature deteriorating allium foliage.

  5. User avater
    treasuresmom 04/24/2019

    I imagine that area with chairs is so relaxing to sit in & enjoy all around you.

  6. paiya 04/24/2019

    The different textures and shades of green and silver are so soothing but interesting. I’d never thought of pairing allium with ferns- will try it . I’d welcome advice about keeping euphorbia Tasmanian Tiger for years!

  7. btucker9675 04/24/2019

    Ruby - you have created a truly lovely and elegant garden - thank you for sharing it with us!

  8. User avater
    bdowen 04/24/2019

    The view across the patio and the area with the chairs look so inviting. How do you keep the rabbits and deer from munching your plants? In my (opposite) end of Wellesley, the rabbits are prolific and hungry.

  9. cheryl_c 04/24/2019

    Ruth, thank you for sharing your beautiful photos and your love of gardens and gardening. Thank you also for your willingness to serve on your state board for the Gardening Federation of America. Your design abilities are quite evident in your photos! Great pairings! Hope to see more soon!

  10. User avater
    simplesue 04/24/2019

    I've always been a fan of predominantly green shades in a garden only accented with the color of flowers. Your garden really suits me, love the calmness it has. I especially loved the way you used the natural overhanging branch in your composition of plants.

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