Green seems like a most appropriate color for the month of March. In many areas of the country the grass starts growing and by the end of the month, the first official “mowing of the lawn” occurs. The Daffodils that we planted last fall begin to make an appearance and the first green shoots on many trees and shrubs become the first leaves of spring. Finally, the “wearing of the green” on St. Patrick’s Day lets us know that spring is literally right around the corner and that the “long winter’s nap” for our garden is coming to an end.
Green truly takes “center stage” in the spring; the lawn and leaves dominate the early landscape, but there are other signs that green isn’t just limited to grass, shrubs and trees. St. Patrick’s Day in many areas of the country is a day to plant peas which by the time late April rolls around have made significant progress up their supporting trellis or fence. Asparagus tips seem to appear overnight and don’t forget to eat your greens as lettuce and spinach can be harvested several times before the end of spring. Ferns sprout as the woodlands come alive and don’t forget to plant your Green Star Gladiolus for eye-catching blooms in the summer. If you spread out the planting of your Gladiolus bulbs over several weeks you can have blooms all summer long and even into the fall.
When you think of the color green in the summer you usually think of foliage. Coleus, ornamental grasses, and Elephant Ears can be found in many summer flower borders and Hosta are a great choice for shadier spots. Garden furniture, bird baths, and pergolas are also often painted green which help them blend seamlessly into your landscape, but you shouldn’t forget about the flowers. That’s right, the flowers! You can grow naturally green colored annuals such as a variety of Zinnia known as Envy or Celosia also known as Cockscomb. You can celebrate your Irish ancestors by growing the Bells of Ireland and Love Lies Bleeding Amaranthus can be visually stunning into the fall. Finally, herbs take a step forward in the summer vegetable garden. Chives and Cilantro start the season off right, Parsley and Basil take off as the summer heats up and don’t forget Mint “Green”.
I always think of the color green as being a peaceful color and it seems fitting after the hectic pace of summer to think about a peaceful fall. However, just because it is a peaceful color doesn’t mean that it just fades into the background. Brassicas like Kale, Broccoli and Cabbage love the cooler weather and if you are so inclined you can grow a green colored Cauliflower. You can enjoy some fried green Tomatoes if you can’t get them all to ripen but don’t forget about the flowers too! Chrysanthemums are synonymous with the fall and Anastasia and Green Button Pom are two varieties of green mum that will command your attention and you can get a jump on next spring’s garden by planting Green With Envy Tulips in your yard this fall.
Finally, green is a prominent and important color in the winter garden. After all, what would the holidays be without Holly, Ivy, and Christmas wreaths. After the leaves on the trees have fallen evergreen shrubs like Junipers and Ilex provide evidence of life in what is a stark winter landscape. Ground Covers like Ivy, Vinca and Pachysandra stay green all year long and while they blend into the landscape at other times of the year they really seem to stand out against the white winter snow.
Houseplants like Spider Plants and Orchids as well as succulents like Hens and Chicks help to get gardeners through the long winter and before the winter ends Hellebores signal that spring is around the corner and remind us how vital a role the color green plays in the garden.
Read the previous blog postings in this series:
January - White As Snow
February - Rockin' The Red