Silver and gray are hard-working colors in the border. They can extend a limited palette or temper extremes of color to make them easier on the eye. Gray foliage aslo complements a muted scheme. Shrubs with silver or gray leaves – lavender, santolina, Artemisia, and phlomis – are also suitable for dry, sunny sites as they are less vulnerable to scorching.
Variegated shrubs are some delicate, and some species lose their contrasting foliage if planted in too sunny a spot. Use them to animate a bed of unrelieved green or to lift a gloomy corner – variegated hollies are ideal for this purpose. Ilex aquifolium “Silver Queen” has striking white-edged leaves that are true to form whatever the conditions.
Euonymus are tough little shrubs and some of the variegated forms have the added bonus of a seasonal color change: the golden edges of the leaves of E.fortunei “Emerald”n”Gold” flush pink in winter.
ABOVE: Cornus alba “Sibirica Variegata” has green and creamy-white leaves, shed to reveal scarlet winter stems, ensuring its place on two counts.
PURPLE, GOLD, AND SILVER
RIGHT: Stems of a variegated weigela are interwoven with golden dogwood and a purply bronze backdrop of berberis in this colorful collection.
Pinks (Dianthus cv.)
Perpetual stocks (Mathiola incana cv.)
Lavender (Lavandula cv.)
Curry plant (Helichrysum italicum)
Catmint (Nepeta x faassenii)
Cotton lavender (Santolina chamae-cyparissus)
Senecio ‘Sunshine ‘
Ivy (Hedera colchica ‘Dentata Variegata’
Cotoneaster atropurpureus ‘Variegatus’
Hosta fortunei var. ‘Aureomarginata’
Pineapple mint (Mentha suaveolens ‘Variegata’)
Variegated ground elder (Aegopodium podagraria ‘Variegatum’)