Star of the Fall Show Needs Backup Singers

The focus on all of the glorious color of fall is righteous indeed. After a spring and summer of sumptuous floral displays and vegetable tableau’s that can rival any formal shrub border, it’s only natural to get a bit more introspective about the use of the giant color wheel of fall and delve into the details. I also think it’s important to take a good, long step back and see who else is out there helping to make that color sing.

Tri-Color Salvia with Nandina

Top performers know there is a bevy of behind the scenes action that lifts up and supports the lead. They are all of the names that are rarely on the fronts of magazines or books. They dazzle in a more understated way. I like to think of them as the back up singers of the plant world. Silver and grey are the back-up singers that I regularly look for in most plant combination’s that I design. They are reliable, show up consistently, and are rarely demanding of the limelight.

Hebe 'Quicksilver' is the perfect textural contrast to the fall standby Japanese Maple


Light colored foliage from Succulents, Ivy and Grasses - great contrast!

Wooley Thyme acts as an uplight under these hot fall colors.


Artemisia 'Cirrus' - one of my favorites for fall and winter

Sometimes the melody under the song is even lovelier when you listen close. You could even think of it as an up light on the stage. The bold and bawdy red lead singer out in the front of the house always looks better with a little supportive light from underneath, from the side, or in the back. Who sings back up in your garden designs?



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