Dictionary.com defines variegated as: 1. Exhibiting different colors, esp. as irregular patches of streaks 2. (of a plant or foliage) Having or consisting of leaves that are edged or patterned in a second color, esp. white as well as green.
In garden design, variegated plants add interest, texture and structure in the garden. They especially add interest in shady areas. By adding variegated plants to a plant pallet for a shade garden they can brighten up dark spaces, and allow garden visitors’ eyes to travel to areas they might not have noticed.
This garden has multiple entrance paths. When coming up this path you are greeted by giant redwoods and a dominate concrete wall. The variegated New Zealand Flax (Phormium ‘Tom Thumb’) drives your eye further in the garden to draw your attention to the water feature that travels along the slope of the other entrance path. Allowing you to discover all the garden has to offer, even from a secondary entrance.
When added to your plant pallet variegated plants also provide texture in the garden. The white or cream edges attract the light and add visual texture against other elements in the garden.
This Phormium ‘Cream Delight’ is showcased against the natural stone and blue urn water feature. With the interesting cream and green color this plant calls attention to the water feature all day long.
Variegated plants can also add structure to the garden by being placed with intention. Typically all plants are placed with intention in the garden, but by using lighter colored plants and interesting foliage there is definte purpose. It can be especially effective when placed by elements such as water features and sculptures.
These variegated Carex morrowii ‘Aurea-variegata’ grass formalizes this statue and water feature element in the garden. As these plants grow in, the ferns will provide a solid green background and the variegated grass will provide a nice mat for the foreground to draw attention to the structural garden elements behind it.
Whatever your plant pallet style, modern, cottage, traditional etc. or elements in your garden, water features, bird baths and sculptures, variegated plants can play an important role in your garden by adding additional interest. Don’t forget to include them in your plant pallet or else you may be sorry you missed out!
Some of our favorite variegated plants:
Cornus alba ‘Elegantissima’ – Variegated Red Twig Dogwood
Daphne odora ‘Aureo-marginata’ – Variegated Winter Daphne
Dianella tasmanica ‘Variegata’ – Variegated Flax Lily
Hydrangea macrophylla ‘Variegata’ – Variegated Hydrangea
Liriope muscari ‘Silvery Sunproof’ – Silvery Sunproof Lilyturf
Miscanthus sinensis ‘Morning Light’ – Morning Light Maiden Grass