Monday, March 23, 2015

Green With Envy

Chartreuse is my new favorite color - there I've said it and I don't take it back!

"Chartreuse is a French liqueur made by the Carthusian Monks since 1737 according to the instructions set out in the secret manuscript given to them by Francois Annibal d'Estrees  in 1605. 

It is composed of distilled alcohol aged with 130 herbs, plants and flowers. The liqueur is named after the Monks' Grande Chartreuse monastery, located in the Chartreuse Mountains in the general region of Grenoble in France. 

Chartreuse gives its name to the Colour chartreuse, which was first used as a term of colour in 1884."  This historical description totally misses the garden wow factor.  And WOW is what chartreuse is in the plant world.

Chartreuse will become the background for other colors; allowing them to shine while giving it all a clean background.

Chartreuse will become the support for other colors; helping to make them brighter and enliven the whole.  It blends with most any other color giving it the title "the new neutral".

Chartreuse will become the focal point of the show by glowing and drawing the eye.

Nature has provided chartreuse and hybridizers have engineered others and I can't get enough.  From flowers to leaves it is everywhere and in many species.  Some of my tried and loved:

I have a big beautiful lemon yellow spider daylily (top) 
with a glowing chartreuse eye.   
The other is an unknown variety that simply 
punches out in partial shade. 
They must be the focal point.  

These powerfully fragrant chartreuse nicotiana flowers 
play a support roll for other flowers. 
Hosta "Golden Sceptre" 
Hosta "Chartreuse Wiggles"
Hostas have many beautiful varieties with partial or full chartreuse leaves.  There are varying degrees of yellow in the green of chartreuse.  Some shades depend on the amount of light bouncing off the petals or leaves.  In bright sun they may look lemon or light yellow.  In shadier situations, they go chartreuse.  Or they may fade to a medium green in the shade.  It's an experiment worth blending.

Petunia "Crazytunia Star Jubilee"

Hybridizers have really been going crazy with chartreuse petunias.  
This little wren  house actually is a soft chartreuse.
Then there are all the non-plant accents to add punch to your gardens.  Consider a little or a lot of chartreuse this summer.  The nurseries are full of beautiful examples just waiting for you.  

Coleus moments after being set in the pot.

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