It is no big creative breakthrough to note that leaves are green in summer. Most living leaves are green. But, in my summer garden, the plain old green turns into a range of greens worthy of Oz’s Emerald City.
Yes, there are jolts of red and orange and purple. These brilliant sparks of color just serve to emphasize the wild, jungle-mix of greens that form the garden base. Green is the leading lady in my summer garden.
If you remember your Wizard of Oz books from childhood reading, you know that everything in the Emerald City was green, from the houses to the sky. As summer moves into my backyard garden here in San Francisco, it feels just like that.
The paths turn a bright green with new grass, the lemon and lime trees reveal baby-green leaves, and the new growth on the succulents runs the gamut from dark, forest green to the yellow green of the jade plants.
Then there is the vegetable garden. It looks like a vegetable jungle with tomato vines covering a tee-pee of stakes head and shoulders taller than I am. The rest of that bed is crowded with the huge, fuzzy green leaves of zucchini.
Another bed contains a wall of snap pea vines rising up a trellis. The rest of the bed is filled with the soft, heart-shaped velvet of strawberry foliage and green peppers and chard. The textures differ, the range of hues is impressive, but everywhere you look there is green. Hello Emerald City!
Summer Garden Flowers
And don’t forget the flowers. The lacy dark-green leaves of the California poppies contract wildly with the brighter green saucer leaves of the nasturtiums. Both produce vast crops of brilliant orange flowers. The dots of orange make the green look greener.
The geranium foliage is a mottled green as well, with the red flowers floating on top. The princess tree offers purple flowers, as does the California sage and the bougainvillea, but all are backed by green foliage. While the colors are intense, it is the sweeping shades of green that define this summer garden.