Friday, September 5, 2014

Day-Glow Plants


On of the things I love about fall is the light. The sun is lower in the sky, and when its gentle light touches plants they can simply glow. But, with a little forethought and planning, you can enjoy plants that glow year round!

mexican feather grass

While mother nature tends do do a pretty good job of creating this effect on her own, there are a few things we can do to help her along.

Choose Plants That Catch the Light

Some of my favorite plants for catching light are grasses. One of the grasses that I've had the most success with is Karl Foerster Feather Reed Grass. When these plants are backlit they glow beautifully.

My Karl Foester Feather Reed grass is just getting established, so it's hard to tell, but once these babies are settled-in the effect is memorizing! It is drought tolerant and will grow to a height of about 4 feet.

KF Feather Reed Grass

Another one of my favorite light catching grasses is Mexican Feather Grass. This one stays close to the ground. It will also will reseed and spread to nearby areas.

Even in low light, when the sun is not out, this magical soft grass has an element of light. 

Utilize Bright Foliage

When making plant selections, it can be important to think about more than just the color of the flowers.  Look for plants with very light leaves and bright foliage. 

In addition, silvery foliage can really reflect sunlight, even on a grey day.

Silver foliage

The Leucadendron Argenteum pictured above spirals up towards the sun. Its twists and turns make it look like a giant silver flame.

Create Contrast

To highlight a plant's light foliage, place it next to (or in front of) a plant with a darker hue. You can also put it in a dark pot.

The eye is automatically drawn to areas of high contrast, and where light and dark meet.

Another trick is to add additional elements to your garden in darker tones. The dark blue bottles bellow are just resting in a cinderblock. But they contrast nicely with the lemon yellow Sage plant behind them. 

Golden Leaf Pineapple Sage

Foliage Contrast

The light leaves of this plant stand out even more paired with the dark foliage of the CA Redwood tree and Oak Leaf Hydrangea located directly behind them. 

Be Mindful About Location

When I am finding a home for a new plant, I like to try to think about how I'll utilize low light to accentuate it.

If I want to notice it in the early morning, I'll put it in a position to be lit by the morning sun. Or, if I want to admire it in the evening (like from the dinner table, for example) I'll place it so that it can be backlit by the setting sun.

backlit Witch Hazel ignites in the evening light, while the silhouette of a Harry Lauder's Walking Stick shows off its twists and turns.

Look for Vibrant Hues

Saturated lime greens and lemon yellows will glow in midday sun.

A chartreuse Heuchera

A great plant for vibrant color is Delosperma cooperi. For a few weeks during the spring, this ground-cover turns a vibrant shade of pink. 

It will carpet entire hillsides, and glows in it's awe-enducing brilliance.  

Iceplant like this can also be found in equally vibrant shades of orange and yellow.  I have all 3 colors in my succulent garden!

Of course, last... and perhaps easiest of all, you can simply stick with a vibrant flower color pallet. This is what I chose to do in my front yard.

Thank you for strolling through my garden, and please come visit again soon!

Thank you for stopping by, and happy gardening! 

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