DIY Network

When Leaves Come First

There are few pleasures that gardeners look forward to more than the first flowers of spring. After the bloom fades, all that's left is the foliage. However, the foliage can come in an endless array of colors.

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'Light O Day' hydrangea(4 of 8)

Recent introductions of mophead hydrangeas such as 'Endless Summer' bloom on new wood, a breakthrough for colder climates where these popular shrubs die back to the ground in winter. Hydrangea macrophylla 'Light O Day' (syn. 'Bailipse') has a crisp white edge on the leaves. This improved variety blooms reliably on new wood and is hardier than other variegated forms. The lacecap flowers come in hues of pink or blue surrounded by bright white petals. 'Light O Day' performs best in dappled shade Woody and herbaceous perennials come in a wide selection of variegated forms, from reliable long bloomers to stately ornamental grasses and tidy groundcovers.

Variegated groundcovers are a great solution for lightening up a shady area. Gardeners in cold climates benefit from the many sturdy forms of spotted deadnettle including 'Pink Pewter' (Lamium maculatum) and bugleweed (Ajuga reptans) 'Burgundy Glow', which are hardy to USDA Zone 3. Gardeners in milder climates (USDA Zones 7-10) can grow Asian jasmine 'First Snow' (syn. Trachelospermum asiaticum 'Snow 'n Summer'), with pink and white new growth fading to hues of marbled cream and green. The trailing habit is also attractive on a trellis or in a container.

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