Light and Bright
11 smart ways to add chartreuse to your garden.
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The roses are plastered in flowers, the purple salvia is in full bloom, the irises are going to town, all while the pansies and violas are a bit over their prime but still going strong. It's an awesome sight, but the plant that dominates the scene — at least in my mind — is a goldleaf smokebush, its broad leaves glowing a yellowish-chartreuse in the late afternoon sun. After night falls, in the random ambient light of the city, the bush seems to glow in the dark.
Long after the roses have gone into reruns, the iris foliage has receded into the background and the pansies have wilted in the heat, the smokebush will still be lighting up the garden. That, and the other chartruese, yellow and lime-green plants.
The success of 'Marguerite' sweet potato vine proves how much gardeners value bright, crisp foliage as part of their garden scheme. Here are some great ways to brighten and lighten your yard:
Goldleaf smokebush. In the species smokebush (Cotinus coggygria), the foliage is bluish-green, and the "smoke" — the showy phase resulting from the display of hairs on the flower panicles — are a grayish pink. Many cultivars offer different hues of maroon or reddish-purple. In 'Ancot', however, the bush is an eyecatcher before the inflorescence ever appears: the golden-yellow foliage has a chartreuse tinge, especially in late afternoon and evening, and holds the color without scorching even in full sun. Place this shrub where the contrasting effect wiill be particularly pronounced — for example, in front of a backdrop of dark green conifers. New growth has reddish tips. Also known as Golden Spirit (tm). USDA Zones (4) 5 to 8.