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Variegated Foliage

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                   GardenGuides Newsletter 
                       August 29, 2006

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Alternatives to Pesticides and Chemicals

* When used incorrectly, pesticides can pollute water. They 
also kill beneficial as well as harmful insects. Natural 
alternatives prevent both of these events from occurring and
save you money. 

* Consider using natural alternatives for chemical pesti-
cides: Non-detergent insecticidal soaps, garlic, hot pepper 
sprays, 1 teaspoon of liquid soap in a gallon of water, used 
dishwater, or forceful stream of water to dislodge insects.

* Also consider using plants that naturally repel insects. 
These plants have their own chemical defense systems, and 
when planted among flowers and vegetables, they help keep 
unwanted insects away. The table below contains a partial 
list of nature's alternatives.

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Variegated Foliage Can Set Your Garden Apart
By Kate Jerome

Color ... it's what we all want in a garden, right? But in 
spite of the amazing array of flower colors, an aspect that 
we don't always plan for is the color of foliage. Japanese 
gardens take the concept of designing a garden with only 
foliage to extremes, beautiful extremes. Their meditative 
gardens have only shades and tones of green. This gives the 
garden a refined air that lends itself to contemplation and 
quiet.

Green foliage actually comes in all shades -- from the kelly 
green of asters and woodland tobacco -- to the chartreuse of 
sweet potato vine and golden moneywort; from the blue-green 
of English ivy and baptisia to the gray-green of yarrow.
Each makes a different statement, and combinations of shades 
of green with varying textures make beautiful statements. 

White, the most versatile color of all, blends other colors 
and lightens the garden while tying together garden areas, 
softening strong colors, and leading the gaze from one area 
to another. Variegated foliage is a natural white element to
do this with, and brightly variegated foliage often gives 
the appearance of a floral display. Picture a green and 
white caladium; it almost looks like flowers in the shade!

Variegated foliage brightens and lightens a shady area. 
Variegated plants are generally used as focal points, so 
keep this in mind when designing your garden. Mixing a lot 
of different plants with variegated leaves creates a jumble 
that isn't soothing. A foundation planting of all variegated 
plants would be confusing to the eye, and frankly, have just 
too much energy to enjoy.

Keep in mind that plants with white variegation do quite 
well in shade, although they will be slower growing than in 
sun. Plants with yellow variegation do best in sun as they 
tend to fade in shade. 

There is also an amazing range of plants with red and purple 
foliage, very much in demand by gardeners. Red foliage tends 
to make an area recede, and gives a rich subtlety to the 
garden. It is spectacular in contrast to bright green or 
silvery foliage.

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Try These

I've listed a few plants with variegated foliage below, but 
the sky's the limit! 

Caladium; wide range from green and white to pink and gray

Daphne 'Carol Mackie' -- green with yellow

Hosta 'Francis Williams' -- blue-green with chartreuse 

streaks (there are hundreds of other hostas with all manner 
of color and texture)

Hosta 'Big Blue' -- deep blue 

Japanese painted fern -- silvers, pinks, whites, and grays

Pulmonaria 'Milky Way' -- bright green with silvery spots

Red smokebush -- coppery-red

Red-leaved rose -- maroon

Red-leaved grapevine 

Red-leaved Polygonum

Indiancurrant coralberry -- matte blue 

Variegated aralia -- large tropical leaves with silvery 
streaking 

Variegated Japanese kerria -- bright kerria with white 
streaks

Variegated Japanese sedge grass -- deep green with silvery 
margins

Variegated red dogwood -- gray-green with cream

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