The Garden Muse: Wondrous Greenery

Published 8:30 am Saturday, August 26, 2023

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the Garden Muse

Dawn Conrad

On my porch it is that time of year when the long summer days and high temperatures have taken their toll on the flowering plants. The plants know when the time has come to cease the flowering and set seed with what little amount of energy they have left.

During this period of transition, I like to tidy up a bit by removing most of the tired looking flowering plants and trimming up the greenery on others. It is also a good time to pre-inspect any houseplants that may be ‘summering’ out of doors, before bringing them back in. It’s also a good time to get a head start on any health or pest issues that may need attention.

The space can look a bit dull when most if not all the summer flowering plants are gone, but there is beauty to be appreciated in the greenery.

I layer different shades of green foliage together as focal points of interest and intersperse other plants around the space to provide the feeling of abundance.

Non-flowering plants can be just as showy and interesting as the flowering ones. The plants’ structure, shape, veining and coloration of the leaves all add to the plant’s unique beauty.

Filling your space with greenery has another benefit, they cool the space by lowering surface and air temperature. Greenery provides shady spaces and through evaporation and transpiration they cool the air by what is called evapotranspiration.

Studies have been done that produced reported findings showing that a green environment has calming & relaxing effects on the human body, along with a significant reduction in heart rate.

I find that what I refer to as the ‘green hiatus’ on the porch, the time between summertime flowers and the colors of fall, is a welcomed respite. A time to slow down, unwind and rest awhile.

Go ahead and give ‘going green’ a try in your outdoor space. Be creative and bold when using monotone color.

Dawn Conrad is a Retired Virginia Cooperative Extension Master Gardener, Herbalist, Writer and Artist. She can be contacted at