Feature Foliage in Leaf-Centered Gardens

Flowers aren't the only dazzlers available for design. Foliage has flair all its own, especially in tropical climates. Learn how to combine leaf shapes, heights, colors and textures for dramatic effect.

Jungle Garden

Jungle Garden

2009 Dorling Kindersley Limited DK - Garden Design

DK - Garden Design, 2009 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Foliage gardens are found around the world, especially in warm climates where planting is naturally lush and prolific growth only enhances the jungle atmosphere. Layouts vary, but all emphasize contrasting varieties and plant forms that feature different textures and shapes. Clearings are carved out of dense vegetation, to create a sense of seclusion and separation and to allow access within the thick growth. Decorative bark or pine needles on the garden floor create softness underfoot.

Foliage gardens are typically organic in shape and deliberately wild in style, but man-made additions such as paths, pergolas and sculpture, can offer a pleasantly startling contrast. Water is frequently present in the form of energizing waterfalls and streams, or even swimming pools.

Foliage gardens use some of the most ancient and richly diverse local flora, much of it originally found in New Zealand, southeast Asia, and the Caribbean. In temperate zones, foliage gardenening has been adapted for use with architectural plants, such as tree ferns, bamboo, loquat, Fatsia, Phormium and cordylines, and grasses, water or woodland plantings.

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